Lead­ers call for in­creased in­vest­ments in Africa

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Business -

AFRICAN gov­ern­ment and busi­ness lead­ers have called for in­creased pri­vate in­vest­ments in Africa in or­der to boost eco­nomic growth on the con­ti­nent.

They made the call on Mon­day at the open­ing of Global African In­vest­ment Sum­mit (TGIAS) in Rwanda’s cap­i­tal, Ki­gali.

Rwanda hosted the high-level in­vest­ment fo­rum from Septem­ber 5 to 6, aimed at de­liv­er­ing in­ter­na­tional trade and in­vest­ment to Africa’s most dy­namic re­gion.

“Africa is ripe for in­vest­ments in sev­eral sec­tors of the econ­omy. There are lots of un­tapped busi­ness prospects for both lo­cal and for­eign in­vestors. In­creased pri­vate in­vest­ments will ex­plore these in­vest­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties and help ac­cel­er­ate growth,” said Uganda Pres­i­dent Yow­eri Kaguta Mu­sev­eni.

He added that Africa has re­alised the im­por­tance of pri­vate cap­i­tal in ex­pand­ing and grow­ing the min­ing sec­tor on the con­ti­nent, given its min­eral en­dow­ment.

“Pri­vate in­vest­ments bring the re­quired cap­i­tal and essen­tial skills that sus­tain the growth of eco­nomic sec­tors. Without the mo­bil­i­sa­tion of pri­vate cap­i­tal specif­i­cally to fund the min­ing and in­fra­struc­ture sec­tors on the con­ti­nent, such eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment would not have been pos­si­ble, at least at the rate at which it oc­curred,” Mu­sev­eni said.

The sum­mit, or­gan­ised by the Com­mon Mar­ket for Eastern and South­ern Africa (Comesa) and the gov­ern­ment of Rwanda at­tracted about 1 000 del­e­gates, in­clud­ing some African heads of state and gov­ern­ment, min­is­ters and pri­vate sec­tor busi­nesses lead­ers.

The two-day meet­ing was held un­der the theme “Trans­form­ing African Economies for Global Com­pet­i­tive­ness” and will cover sec­tors in­clud­ing in­fra­struc­ture, power, agribusi­ness, fast-mov­ing con­sumer goods ( FMCG), tourism and nat­u­ral re­sources.

Ac­cord­ing to the Rwanda Pres­i­dent Paul Kagame, Africa’s huge in­vest­ment po­ten­tial re­mains largely un­ex­plored due to lack of com­mit­ment to en­sure the ul­ti­mate goal of see­ing Africa thriv­ing.

“Africa can­not just re­main a story about huge po­ten­tial that never ma­te­ri­alises. Post­pon­ing our pri­or­i­ties and de­lay­ing our com­mit­ments are the most ex­pen­sive mis­takes that Africa can make,” he added.

The in­vest­ment meet­ing also fo­cused on pro­mot­ing in­tra-re­gional trade, which is at a low level com­pared to other re­gions across the world.

Cur­rently, the lev­els of in­tra-Africa trade re­main at un­der 15 per­cent com­pared to re­gions such as Asia where it is over 40 per­cent.

Ac­cord­ing to an­a­lysts, de­spite an eco­nomic growth rate of more than four per­cent, Africa still ac­counts for only about two per­cent of global trade.

African lead­ers ar­gued that re­gional in­te­gra­tion will pro­vide a big mar­ket for in­vestors and un­lock un­nec­es­sary trade and in­vest­ment bar­ri­ers in African coun­tries.

Mr Ad­massu Tadesse, Pres­i­dent of the Eastern and South­ern African Trade and De­vel­op­ment Bank com­monly known as PTA Bank, said that mo­bil­i­sa­tion of pri­vate cap­i­tal and the con­se­quent in­fra­struc­ture de­vel­op­ment will give Africa promi­nence glob­ally as a de­vel­oped re­gion.

“In­vest­ments in in­fra­struc­ture and hu­man re­source de­vel­op­ment will un­lock the true po­ten­tial of Africa. The con­ti­nent has be­come the most at­trac­tive in­vest­ment des­ti­na­tion in the world and in­vestors should bank on the op­por­tu­ni­ties avail­able and ex­plore Africa’s po­ten­tial,” he said.

The sum­mit will en­gage the pri­vate sec­tor on the Tri­par­tite Free Trade Area (TFTA) ini­tia­tive, and ex­plore how pub­lic and pri­vate sec­tors can col­lab­o­rate to re­alise the as­pi­ra­tion of Africa’s largest sin­gle mar­ket.

TFTA aims to eco­nom­i­cally in­te­grate Africa’s three ma­jor re­gional eco­nomic com­mu­ni­ties — the Com­mon Mar­ket for Eastern and South­ern Africa (Comesa), the South­ern African De­vel­op­ment Com­mu­nity (Sadc), and the East African Com­mu­nity (EAC).

To­gether, the three eco­nomic blocs will cre­ate the largest trad­ing bloc in Africa, com­pris­ing 26 coun­tries, about 620 mil­lion con­sumers and a com­bined GDP of al­most US$1.2 tril­lion. — Xin­hua

Lead­ers and del­e­gates at the Global African In­vest­ment Sum­mit (TGIAS) in Rwanda’s cap­i­tal, Ki­gali

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