Economic reform is ‘key to foreign investment’
AFRICAN governments will continue to battle to get foreign investment if they do not drive economic reforms conducive for business, and commit to clean governance.
This is according to President Cyril Ramaphosa, who delivered the keynote address at the Africa Investment Summit in Sandton yesterday.
The summit, which drew heads of governments from across the continent and captains of industry from across the globe, looked at how to best position the continent as a key destination for investment, especially in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
Ramaphosa said that if Africa was to seize the opportunities of the future, its governments needed to mobilise large-scale, sustained investment, especially in infrastructure, which could not be achieved without the business sector.
“The private sector and private markets are key players in the African investment landscape, supported by the lending capacity of financial institutions, both on the continent and beyond. If we are to unlock and sustain the flow of capital to Africa, we need to drive the economic reforms necessary to create an enabling business environment,” Ramaphosa said.
“To be globally competitive, to become investment destinations of choice, we need to resolve the problems that keep investors away. We have to address governance challenges such as policy uncertainty, financial mismanagement and corruption. “As African leaders, we must demonstrate a firm commitment to act against corruption both within public institutions and the private sector,” Ramaphosa added.
He said African integration would play a crucial role in attracting more investment and growing the continent’s economies, adding that the adoption of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area Agreement in March this year was a historic development that had the potential to change African economies for the better.
South African billionaire businessman Patrice Motsepe said African countries were not given enough credit, as most of them had created a conducive and competitive regulatory environment for investors.
“We do business in about 40 countries on the continent, and it is important that we recognise the excellent work of heads of state – the legislative, the fiscal and the monetary policies that are in place and the overall competitiveness,” Motsepe said.
He added that while there was stability in countries like the Democratic Republic of Congo, African countries had worked hard over the past two decades to be globally competitive destinations for foreign investment.
“Are there still challenges in Africa or will there still be challenges in Africa? Absolutely, yes. There is no continent in the world where there are no challenges… in fact, there is no country in the world (where there are no challenges). We should not be discouraged if there are challenges in the DRC, and there are problems in the DRC,” he said.