Partnerships on Mega Projects Critical to the Success of the African Free Trade Agreement – High Commissioner Mpahlwa
The South African High Commissioner to Mozambique, Mr Mandisi Mpahlwa says partnerships in mega projects are critical to the success of the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AFCFTA). Mpahlwa was speaking on day two of the South Africa and Mozambique virtual Trade and Investment seminar which took place under the theme Developing Afrocentric solutions and forging partnership in response to COVID-19.
More than 360 businesspeople attended the webinar that was focused on trade and investment opportunities available in Mozambique and also discussed strategic issues regarding Mozambique’s investment plans to stimulate the country’s economic growth amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to Mpahlwa, mega industrial and infrastructure projects require collaborative approaches and have an important dimension with regards to facilitating market access, because they assist in putting in place the necessary integrative infrastructure, which brings the countries together and ease the flow of goods between the countries.
“If we cannot be able to have these major projects that are going to help to integrate our continent, this agreement is going to be dead in the water. We have had a good account on the Maputo Development Corridor and the key issue to highlight is the importance of government leadership to crowd in the private sector and unlock economic potential using public-private partnerships,” said Mpahlwa.
Mpahlwa said it was going to be critical for business people from both countries to learn from each other on how to conduct business, specifically in terms of operating in Mozambique. He added it was important for South African business people to harvest the experience of and learn from those that came before them.
While making the summary of discussions, the Chief Director of Trade Invest Africa, a division of the dtic, Mr John Rocha, said five working groups have been established.
“The five working groups are on agriculture and agro-processing, natural gas, electricity and power, transport and logistics infrastructure, and trade and investment. We have also agreed to mainstream within these working groups, the financing element and industrialisation component in terms of the regional value chains that can be developed and created,”said Rocha.
The working groups are intended to share information on business and market intelligence, ensure better aligned approaches and harmonized planning for more effective implementation and, lastly, to ensure ease of follow-up on some of the areas of interest expressed by a number of companies.
Importantly, the issues around capacity building, training and skills development, and local content will all be mainstreamed in all of the five working groups,” outlined Rocha.
Additionally, Rocha said that the first meeting of the working groups will be on 15th October 2020 and is expected to come-up with a programme of action.
Some of the topics that were covered by the seminar include: the impact of COVID-19 on trade and investment between the two countries, infrastructure projects as catalysts to enhance economic growth and regional integration, the Mozambique Liquid Natural Gas (LNG), Mozambique electrification plant, Project Financing, developing agricultural value chains and linkages to ensure food security, and mobilising private sector resources to deliver mega industrial and infrastructure projects while maximising African content in African projects.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of The Department of Trade, Industry and Competition, South Africa.
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