Africans Need to Showcase Success to Address Perceptions of Risk(PresseBox) (Kigali, Rwanda, )
Regional integration, including increased mobility of skills, people, technology and goods, is the key to enhancing growth in Africa
Land title and access to finance and technology are critical components of building agriculture, particularly for women
For more information on the meeting, please visit wef.ch/af16
Africa needs to address perceptions of risk on the continent to help investors understand what its markets have to offer, and develop success stories that highlight the capability of Africa’s people and institutions to deliver complex projects, quality local content and innovation. Makhtar Diop, Vice-President, Africa, World Bank, Washington DC, said that this era of low commodity prices is “a wonderful opportunity” to invest in agriculture, a sector that has been neglected. Efforts need to be made to increase the proportion of land under irrigation, use technology to improve productivity and reduce farmers’ risk levels through insurance and other measures.
Pravin Gordhan, Minister of Finance of South Africa, noted that African countries need to focus on mobilizing their own resources and implementing projects that will demonstrate Africans’ ability to deliver. This would give investors comfort and alert them to the benefits of investing on the continent and the good returns that are on offer there.
Fredrik Jejdling, President, sub-Saharan Africa Region, Ericsson, South Africa, said that the company has been in Africa for 120 years, which proves its commitment to the future of the continent. He added that, despite some hurdles at present such as currency devaluation, they do not detract from the long-term attractiveness of the markets in Africa.
Claver Gatete, Minister of Finance and Economic Planning of Rwanda, emphasized that regional connectedness is key to enhancing economic growth. He cited several initiatives undertaken by the East African Community in this regard related to the mobility of labour, skills and visitors within the region, of technology, of capital markets and of goods from the port at Mombasa to countries inland. This has increased the region’s attractiveness as an investment destination and stimulated business activity and improved efficiency.
These initiatives, he explained, are driven by leaders in the participating countries, showing what can be achieved with the right political will. “Leadership matters,” he said.
Makhtar Diop also suggested improving regulation in Africa and considering establishing regional regulators to create common standards across countries and who are properly empowered to enforce regulation.
Bineta Diop, President, Femmes Africa Solidarité, Senegal, said that investing in women is not only important because they represent more than 50% of the population, but also because it makes sense to do so. Women are key to the development of agriculture as 70% of African women are farmers. And yet, they lack the fundamental tools they need to contribute to economic growth, such as land title and access to finance. “If we don’t have women at the table, social inclusion won’t happen,” she said.
Minister Gordhan said that Africa needs a “youth revolution” to create a different paradigm that will allow Africans to build more inclusive societies and improve the future of Africa. “We can demonstrate to the world that we can create a more equal society than anywhere else,” he said.
The meeting saw progress across a number of workstreams linked to the Forum’s 10 global challenges:
The Grow Africa initiative, co-led by the Forum, NEPAD and the African Union, announced that, to date, $2.3 billion of private-sector finance has been invested, benefitting 10 million smallholder farmers and creating 88,000 jobs
To tackle cybercrime, Busingye Johnston, Minister of Justice of Rwanda, signed up to the Forum’s Recommendations for Public-Private Partnership against Cybercrime, which was launched in Davos in January.
The Sustainable Development Investment Partnership (SDIP), an initiative led by the Forum and the OECD, announced it is to establish a regional hub dedicated to facilitating investment in African infrastructure and development projects, initially targeting 16 projects with a combined value of over $20 billion.
In the Forum’s Future of Health challenge, an initiative was launched in Kenya aimed at improving maternal and child health in Kenya. A second ongoing programme, the Araya health insurance that has been running in Ogun State was endorsed by a new local government, is a milestone that could see it providing coverage to more than 100,000 people by 2018.
The Forum’s Africa Skills Initiative brought organizations including MMI, GE, Google, Agility, the Rockefeller Foundation, Yellowwoods and the University of Witswatersrand together to form a coalition committed to tackling Africa’s shortage of future-oriented STEM and ICT skills.
Forty Chinese participants met for a special China Breakfast, marking the first China community session at a World Economic Forum on Africa. At the meeting, Chinese delegates, including the Vice-Minister of Cyberspace Administration of China, pledged to continuously support Africa on its digital development, with an agreement for Rwanda to launch a promotional campaign at the third Internet Forum this fall in China.
The Rockefeller Foundation announced a $1 million Cassava Innovation Challenge, aimed at finding ways to improve the shelf life of this important staple crop.
The Forum’s community of Global Shapers made sure the millennial generation’s voice was heard in all critical discussions affecting Africa’s future, including in the digital space, where leaders from their highly successful #internet4all campaign contributed to discussions on how to break down the region’s digital divide.
More than 1,200 participants from over 70 countries have taken part in the World Economic Forum on Africa in Kigali, Rwanda, from 11 to 13 May 2016. The theme of the meeting is “Connecting Africa’s Resources through Digital Transformation”.
Notes to Editors
Follow the World Economic Forum on Africa at wef.ch/af16
Read the Meeting Overview
View the best Forum Flickr photos at http://wef.ch/pix
Watch live webcasts of sessions at http://wef.ch/live
Become a fan of the Forum on Facebook at http://wef.ch/facebook
Follow the Forum on Twitter at http://wef.ch/twitter and http://wef.ch/livetweet
Follow us on Google+ at http://wef.ch/gplus
Read our blogs at http://wef.ch/agenda
View upcoming Forum events at http://wef.ch/events
Subscribe to Forum news releases at http://wef.ch/news