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Africa’s infrastructure deficit present opportunities – Mahama

Investors have been urged to recognize Africa’s infrastructure challenges as an opportunity for investment.

“What constitutes challenge constitutes an opportunity for growth.”

President Mahama made this profound statement during a panel discussion to build consensus on how to attract investors into Africa at the 2nd Africa Global Business Forum in Dubai last week and assured investors that the continent is ready with various reforms to create friendly business environment to guarantee good returns on investments.

According to him, various opportunities exist under private partnership programmes to address infrastructure deficits to propel growth and development in Africa.
The Forum, under the auspice of the Dubai government and patronage of his Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and ruler of Dubai, was aimed at redirecting investment into Africa to create wealth and position Dubai as an international gateway to Africa.

Africa’s markets are changing fast with economic growth while rising prosperity and new business opportunities are a driving force between the worlds.

The Forum brought together investors and decision makers to encourage international revenue flow to tap into Africa’s potential.

Under the theme, ‘New Realities, New Connections,’ the Forum highlighted key initiatives that drive Africa’s promising economic future.

President Mahama noted that clear strong policy, legal, good corporate governance and best practices conforming to global standards rooted in national programmes is a manifestation of Ghana and other countries’ commitment to sustainable economic development to improve the socio-economic development of the citizenry.

He noted that the continent’s infrastructure deficit, which requires over $90 billion annually until 2020 is an avenue for investors to develop and build Africa through partnership.

The panel discussion, which included President Paul Kegame, Rwanda and Dr. Malatu Teshome of Ethiopia pledged to increase intra-trade to create bigger markets to be competitive for business.

They unanimously acknowledged it is very important to attract investment for development in all sectors in Africa but noted that bottlenecks associated with critical factors must be addressed to create investor confidence including uniform trade systems, availability of manpower and strong institutions and one-stop business centres to reduce time of doing business.

They also identified good infrastructure, skillful manpower, free movement of goods and services as necessary incentives to boost investment.

They underscored the continent’s positive economic growth in GDP and improvement on issues of accountability and transparency as a good signs for investors.

President Mahama noted that Ghana is aggressively attracting investors into the energy sector to position the country as an energy hub for the West African sub-region and guarantee a reliable supply of energy for industries.

Ghana, he said, also has high telecommunication penetration rate on the continent adding, “Private-public partnership is the way to go.’’

In his welcome address, the Dubai Minister for Commerce averred that the forum is a platform to explore investment opportunities for Africa through engagements and to offer sustainable economic development through partnerships to connect Africa and the world by harnessing the continent’s capabilities.

The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Hon Hannah Tetteh, urged policy makers to promote trade, remove barriers and harmonize tariffs to create linkages and integration.

She expressed concern at the slow pace of the continent’s intra trading, which is fuelled by regional interests instead of the bigger interest.

“Our diversity as people on the continent is an opportunity to promote trade,” she stated and urged Africa to have a common vision, focus on detail and to involve the people in addressing the challenge

By Edos News

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