Eco­nomic re­form is ‘key to for­eign in­vest­ment’

The Star Late Edition - - NATION - SIVIWE FEKETHA siviwe.feketha@inl.co.za

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.

Pa­trice Mot­sepe

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