World Economic Forum on Africa outlines solutions for transformation

GMT 05:42 2016 Saturday ,14 May

Arab Today, arab today World Economic Forum on Africa outlines solutions for transformation

World Economic Forum
Kigali - XINHUA

Participants at the World Economic Forum on Africa wrapped up a three-day meeting here on Friday outlining solutions the continent needed in face of various challenges.

Makhtar Diop, the World Bank's Vice President for Africa, said this era of low commodity prices was "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," he said.

The Grow Africa initiative, co-led by the forum, NEPAD and the African Union, announced that, to date, 2.3 billion U.S. dollars of private-sector finance has been invested, benefitting 10 million small-holder farmers and creating 88,000 jobs.

The forum also noted the need to address perceptions of risk on the continent to help investors understand what its markets have to offer, and develop success stories highlighting the capability of Africa's people and institutions to deliver complex projects, quality local content and innovation.

Pravin Gordhan, Minister of Finance of South Africa, said that African countries need to focus on mobilizing their own resources and implementing projects that will demonstrate Africans' ability to deliver.

This, he said, 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 of Ericsson's sub-Saharan Africa Region, South Africa, said his company's 120 years on the continent is proof of its commitment to the future of Africa.

Despite some hurdles at present such as currency devaluation, they do not detract from the long-term attractiveness of the markets in Africa, he added.

Claver Gatete, Rwanda's Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, emphasized that regional connectedness is key to enhancing economic growth.

He cited several initiatives undertaken by the East African Community related to the mobility of labor, 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 said, are driven by leaders in the participating countries, showing what can be achieved with the right political will.

AU Special Envoy for Women, Peace and Security Bineta Diop called for investing in women, saying it was important because they represent more than 50 percent of the population.

More than 1,200 participants from over 70 countries participated in the World Economic Forum on Africa, which began on Wednesday. It was conducted under the theme "Connecting Africa's Resources through Digital Transformation."

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