The Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), the political risk insurance arm of the World Bank Group, Michel Wormser, has started a six-day visit to South Africa and Tanzania.
The overall objective of the visit which started yesterday is to discuss how MIGA’s investment guarantees can help promote private sector investment in sub-Saharan Africa.
A press statement issued by the WB at the weekend said while in Tanzania, Wormser will meet with the private sector and government officials to discuss how MIGA’s investment guarantees can encourage developmentally beneficial foreign investment in the country, especially in energy and agribusiness.
Supporting investments into sub-Saharan Africa is a priority for the agency, and it has supported projects across the continent in all sectors, from large mining, infrastructure, and telecommunications projects to smaller manufacturing and agribusiness ventures.
“The recent World Bank economic update for Tanzania notes the need to support agricultural commercialisation and diversification so that the 80 percent of Tanzania’s population living in rural areas can benefit from the country’s remarkable growth,” he said in the statement.
“It also highlights the country’s acute energy shortage, which has the potential to slow this impressive growth trajectory. We are eager to discuss ways in which MIGA can support more investment into these areas,” he said.
The statement said while in South Africa, Wormser will meet with private sector investors and lenders.
South African firms have made significant investments across sub-Saharan Africa with the backing of MIGA guarantees, and South Africa currently ranks in the top five host countries among MIGA’s guarantee holders.
In 2012, for example, MIGA provided investment guarantees to South African investors and lenders going into Ivory Coast, Kenya and Zambia.
“South African investors are expected to continue to play a very important role going forward, especially as the Euro-zone crisis has curtailed traditional sources of investment,” Wormser said.
“MIGA’s guarantees can help investor’s riskier markets, including countries recovering from conflict,” he said.