Emerging markets spur FDI flows into Africa

Emerging markets in Africa are leading the way for foreign investment into the continent, according to speakers at an Africa investment event.

Africa is now seeing a marked increase in investment in previously non-traditional sectors, with figures from FDI Intelligence showing sectors such as construction ($37 billion), logistics ($12.8 billion), power ($12.2 billion), as well as internet and telephony penetration and increasing banking and financial institution penetration beginning to overtake mining and extraction, leading business figures said at ALN’s 5th Africa Investment Conference.

Former prime minister of Mali and ALN chairman Dr Cheick Diarra; Leader of the Democratic Alliance, Republic of South Africa Mmusi Maimane; and Vice-President of the Republic of Malawi Saulos Chilima, were joined by leading business figures at the opening day.

Opening with an address from renowned author and Africa expert, Dr Greg Mills, the conference focused on the key drivers for change on the continent.

Addressing the conference with a keynote address, Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan, Minister for Tolerance, said the conference would strengthen common interests in Africa. “A happy, educated and healthy population lays a solid foundation for long-term investment and growth.”

Speakers discussed democracy as a driver for economic growth was, with calls for private and public sector to work closely together to drive prosperity and innovation across the continent. Africa has always been commodity rich, and investment has long been focused around this sector, for example extraction and oil. Because of this, the African GDP has traditionally been linked to commodity prices.

However, with a rapidly growing population – the population of Africa is expected to double by 2045 – and accompanying urbanisation, a number of new opportunities are beginning to spring up for investors.

In a panel discussion focused around the social, economic and political challenges of opening up the continent for investment, industry leaders and heads of state discussed the need for governments to leverage private sector opportunities.

Dr Diarra said there has been a tremendous amount of reform and good business across the continent. “I anticipate that we are going to see Africa growing economically.”

Mmusi Maimane, Leader of the Democratic Alliance, Republic of South Africa, said Africa has to move away from state-led economic development. Many African states seem to focus on the idea that government needs to be at the forefront of industry.

“I think a key takeaway is that the breakdown between public and private sector, must be that we enhance private-sector led growth and investment. The next decade for Africa must be driven by private sector interest and innovation around product because I think the rest of the elements will follow.” – issacjohn@khaleejtimes.com

SOURCE: Khaleej Times

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