African experts and policymakers attending the Africa Business Forum have emphasized that African countries can achieve “exponential” economic growth with good governance and creation of enabling policies for private capital to flow into the energy, health and ICT sectors.
They made the urgent call towards promoting good governance during the Third Africa Business Forum (ABF-2020) that was organized by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) on Wednesday in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa under the theme “Investing in People, Planet and Prosperity.”
The high-level continental forum allowed a number of African leaders, including Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa, Mozambique’s Prime Minister Carlos Agostinho do Rosario, as well as various ministers and investors, to share ideas on innovative financing in the energy, health and ICT sectors.
The leaders also discussed Africa’s readiness to seize renewable energy by creating the right mix, technologies being pioneered by its youth to help solve problems, and abundant opportunities that can be unleashed through the enactment of the right policies and regulatory frameworks, particularly in these three sectors, with the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement set to become operational in July.
Mnangagwa, addressing the high-level gathering, reiterated that Zimbabwe was open for business and ready to welcome investors into the country’s energy sector.
“Increasing energy production in the country will allow us to mechanize our agriculture and in the process enhance productivity, boost food security, which is our main concern right now, and create jobs,” said Mnangagwa.
He also urged fellow African leaders should walk the talk on agreed programs that seek to transform the continent.
Rosario also stressed that his country is also ready to welcome investors into its energy sector.
“Mozambique, like the rest of Africa, has vast natural resources that are waiting to be tapped. We have oil and gas company and would readily welcome investors willing to work with us for the betterment of our people,” he said.
The Executive Secretary of the ECA, Vera Songwe, also said that “one of the reasons we cannot silence the guns in Africa is because there are no jobs for the youth.”
“There is no energy to power job creation. We can silence the guns if the right investments are made into our energy and ICT sectors, including strengthening our health systems in partnership with the private sector,”
“If we cannot ensure Africa has the energy it needs then 2030 is really a distant dream. We need to do more and we need to do it faster,” the ECA chief said, as she emphasized that “Africa should make clean energy investments now.”
“Ambitious climate action can deliver a 26 trillion U.S. dollars boost to the global economy between now and 2030. If we enter into the new climate economy, we can create 20 million jobs for the continent. Right now we need 13 million jobs every year,” Songwe added.
Meanwhile, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Seychelles also during the high-level gathering signed a commitment document aimed at implementing a joint ECA-African Union (AU) led AfCFTA-anchored Pharmaceutical Initiative for local production and pooled procurement of maternal and childcare medicines in Africa.
Scott Mather, high-level official at the Pacific Investment Management Company (PIMCO), whose company manages 2 trillion U.S. dollars worth of assets over the world for private investors, also stressed that his company is ready to work with African governments to ensure they tap into clean energy to power the continent’s inclusive development and address climate change at the same time.
“Africa presented a historic business opportunity for international investors,” Mather said, adding that “a bold initiative is needed to address Africa’s energy challenges. We can work together to find concrete ways with the partners we represent to push Africa’s sustainable development vision.”
“We need governments and policymakers, especially at the national level, to create enabling policies for the capital to flow,” he added.
The Africa Business Forum, hosted by the UN-ECA and its partners, brought together Africa leaders, government representatives, chief executive officers, business and finance leaders, philanthropists and high-level representation from the African Union (AU) and United Nations system. Enditem