The African continent was not spared too as the pandemic put many sectors on its feetprompting the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to cut growth forecast for many Africancountries.
The African Development Bank however projects that Gross Domestic Product (GDP)growth rate for the continent will recover to 3.9% this year.
The African Development Bank has already reiterated its commitment to help Africa rebootand build better and stronger economies.
Inline with short term and long-term economic recovery strategies, countries need to come upwith more friendly and inclusive investment policies to attract more local and Foreign DirectInvestments into the African continent.
More still, Africa countries need to cut the red tape in the business permitting process if theyare to attract more investors into the continent.
No doubt that bureaucratic tendencies in manyAfrican has in the past scared away would-be investors. In this respect, a one-stop center tofacilitate the entire business permitting exercise would be more ideal.
It is on such a backdrop that the Africa Investment Forum that was championed by theAfrican Development Bank and its founding and institutional partners is seeking to addressAfrica’s investment gaps.
The Forum will be held in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire from 1-3 December 2021 under the theme,”“Accelerating transformative investments in Africa.
Discussions will focus on agriculture and agro-processing; energy and climate; health; ICTand telecommunication; and industrialization and trade.
These sectors were prioritized underthe Africa Investment Forum’s Unified Response to Covid-19 initiative, launched last year.
Already, the Africa Investment Forum has identifies 15 projects across five sectors forpriority funding consideration under its Unified COVID-19 Response that includeAgriculture & Agro-Processing, Energy, Health, ICT & Telecoms and Industrial & Trade.
Collectively, these 15 deals that are from the Forum’s current portfolio, amount to $3.79billion and will help increase the continent’s self-sufficiency and resilience against futureshocks.
These include a dairy processing project in Angola, a vaccine manufacturing plant in Kenya,cotton manufacturing project in Mozambique and a proprietary telemedicine platform inNigeria.
According to Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, infrastructure investments representsignificant potential for investors in Nigeria.
He says the country has opportunities in seaports, rail, toll roads, real estate, renewableenergy, and many others. We have created several institutions that are available to co-investwith you in Nigeria.
“We have the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority and more recently, I approved thecreation of Infrastructure Corporation of Nigeria.
These institutions are run as independentworld class institutions to make investments in the country and are available to co-invest withyou," he said.
Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan however believes development of the privatesector is equally important in realizing meaningful economic development" I firmly believe that for a county’s economy to grow, the private sector plays a critical role.We should therefore work towards developing the private sector in the region.” She said.
Rwandese President P Paul Kagame however believes investment in green technologies andindustries, in every corner of the world is a key strategy for ensuring that recovery from thispandemic is more inclusive.”
But South African President Cyril Ramaphosa believes bringing investment directly to wherepeople live and work, economic activity is stimulated, and opportunities are broadened.
“Investment brings hope and opportunity to those who need it most –and makes a realdifference in their lives,” he said.
Countries however need to embank on a number of reforms so as to realize economicdevelopment post the covid-19 pandemic.
There is no one size fits all approach so countriesneed to prioritize on what kind of reforms suit them best.
The African continent however needs to invest in good infrastructure networks that will helpfacilitate trade among countries from various trading blocks within the African continent thatinclude East Africa Community, (EAC) South African Development Community (SADC)and African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
The African Development Bank projects that GDP growth rate for the African continent willrecover to 3.9% this year, with the AfCFTA creating the largest free trade zone in the worldwith a combined GDP of $3.3 trillion and projected consumer and business expendituresrising to $6.7 trillion by 2030.