Political, business leaders move to make Africa investors’ destination
Top government officials and business moguls yesterday in Johannesburg, South Africa agreed to dismantle all disincentives to sustainable investments on the continent.At the Africa Investment Forum (AIF), organised by the African Development Bank (AfDB), the leaders took turns to marshal out their developmental policies and programmes.
The event was graced by the host president, Cyril Ramaphosa; his Ghanaian, Guinean, Senegalese and Ethiopian counterparts, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo; Alpha Conde; Macky Sall, and Sahle-Work Zewde.Also in attendance were Nigeria’s representative, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, and Prime Minister Philémon Yang of Cameroun.
Aliko Dangote led the business leaders, which also included Tony Elumelu of United Bank for Africa (UBA); founder and chairman of African Rainbow Minerals, Patrice Motsepe, and Segun Awolowo of the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC).
The AfDB president, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, noted that the AIF was a wholly transactional platform to develop projects, de-risk and fast-track closure of deals as well improve the business environment for investments to thrive in Africa.He disclosed that about 306 transactions, valued at $208.8 billion, had been struck.
‘’Over the next three days, 60 projects and deals worth $40.4 billion will be discussed in boardroom sessions by investors and promoters to fast-track closure of deals or to remove policy and regulatory constraints to deal closure. An additional $28 billion of projects will be showcased in ‘gallery walks’ which are yet to move to boardroom investment conversations,’’ Adesina added.
In his remarks, Ramaphosa called on the private sector to form mutually beneficial partnerships with governments to boost infrastructure development on the continent.He added that sound policies and good governance were key to making Africa attractive to investors.
The South African leader also wants financial institutions on the continent to be strengthened to attract investments.To Osinbajo, policies must be reformed and deepened if the continent must develop and attract investments.He said with right policies in place, it becomes easy to build infrastructure, guarantee security and drive growth, adding that technology was also crucial to opening up Africa.According to Conde, the continent must concentrate on robust economic and tax reforms, stating that local content development could help unlock opportunities in several aspects of the economy.
In her words, Zewde said Ethiopia country was doing everything possible to attract investments to Africa. Akufo-Addo said the Ghanaian government was very particular about the fundamentals of development, including observing rule of law and improving capacity of her citizens, especially farmers.He is certain that Africa, unlike before, now has what it takes to attract fresh investments, stressing that if the deliberations and deals could be implemented religiously, transformation would come.
From Sall’s perspective, policy must be consistent for investors to come into Africa. Cameroun’s liberal economy and stable legal system, according to the prime minister, were working for investors coming into the country.In the views of the business leaders, it is only Africans that can transform the continent. Dangote noted that the frequent change of governments and policy inconsistencies must be addressed for stability of investments.