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Leaders call for more private investments across Africa

KIGALI Rwanda (Xinhua) -- 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 hosts the high-level investment forum from Sept. 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 realized 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 mobilization 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 organized by the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and the government of Rwanda has attracted about 1,000 delegates, including some African heads of state and government, ministers and private sector businesses leaders.

The two-day meeting is 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 materializes. Postponing our priorities and delaying our commitments are the most expensive mistakes that Africa can make,” he added.

The investment meeting also focuses 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 4 percent, Africa still accounts for only about 2 percent of global trade.

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

Admassu Tadesse, President of the Eastern and Southern African Trade and Development Bank commonly known as PTA Bank, said that mobilization 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 realize 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 1.2 trillion U.S. dollars.

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