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Africans Seek Investments

Africans Seek InvestmentsAfricans Seek Investments

African leaders and bankers vowed at an economic summit in Egypt Saturday to push for trade and investments on the continent despite the growing threat of “terrorism” in the region.

More than 1,200 delegates including some heads of state were in talks to sign business agreements during the two-day summit at the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, aimed at attracting private sector investment, AFP reported.

Organizers hope the “Africa 2016” conference can build on a 26-nation free trade pact signed last year to create a common market on half of the continent.

Analysts say that despite an economic growth rate of more than 4%, Africa still accounts for about only 2% of global trade.

The forum was aimed at “pushing forward trade and investment in our continent to strengthen Africa’s place in the world economy”, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said in opening remarks.

Sisi said the conference aims to present investment opportunities in Africa and “open a direct channel of communication and cooperation” between African businessmen and overseas investors.

Those attending the summit organized by Egypt and the African Union include the presidents of Sudan, Nigeria, Togo, and Gabon, and dozens of African ministers and senior trade and investment officials.

  Convincing Others

African investors should  spearhead growth in the continent, which can come from developing the region’s infrastructure, some delegates said.

“When our own people invest then other investors get convinced,” said Sindiso Ngwenya, head of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa.

He added that trade and investments within COMESA had surged from $837 million in 2007 to $12 billion currently.

Officials said a robust railway network could further propel growth. “Rail will do to Africa what it did to agriculture in Asia and even in America. If you have power and rail, Africa will explode,” Benedict Oramah, president of African Export-Import Bank, told AFP.

But rising terrorism and falling commodity prices pose challenges to growth, he said.

Bankers say despite these challenges, the continent remains an investment destination. “We plan to invest $12 billion in the energy sector over the next five years... so that people in Africa can have universal access to electricity,” Africa Development Bank president Akinwumi Adesina told AFP.

Financialtribune.com