Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouli, Egyptian and African ministers and investment officials posing in opening of IPAs Africa Forum held in Sharm El Sheikh on June 10, 2021. Press Photo
CAIRO- 11 June 2021: Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouli inaugurated Friday IPAs Africa Forum 1 organized by the General Authority for Investment and Free Zones (GAFI).
Africa IPAs Forum 1 kicked off in Egypt’s Sharm El Sheikh having as slogan “Growth for Integration.” The forum is the first of its kind and is taking place on June 11-14 with the participation of ministers and chairpersons of investment promotion authorities at 34 African countries.
The Egyptian Prime Minister said the world faces four challenges at least.
One is COVID-19 and shortage in vaccine supply, particularly to developing countries.
Second is limited supply because of the pandemic and decline in maritime shipping.
Third is rising inflation rates globally coupled with increasing unemployment rates.
Fourth is trade conflicts creating a climate of uncertainty and jeopardizing the geo-political order.
Africa’s share in the world’s GDP is very low contributing by just 2% worth $2.6 trillion, Egypt’s PM noted urging the necessity of expanding the manufacturing of more complex goods.
“We have to achieve radical industrial transformation changing the African economic structure,” the Egyptian prime minister asserted.
CEO of General Authority for Investment and Free Zones (GAFI) Mohamed Abdel-Wahab points out that Africa’s real GDP is projected to grow by 3.4% in 2021
The GAFI CEO said studies show that ICT and healthcare are among the top economic sectors that should be prioritized when working on boosting investment in Africa. He added that Africa should also prioritize enhancing infrastructure and bolstering fruitful public-private partnerships.
It’s crucial to formulate precise mechanisms of cooperation among African countries, Abdel Wahab underscored.
In that context, he pointed out that the forum will examine possible projects that would reinforce partnerships among African states.
AU Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy Amani Abou-Zeid highlighted that investors have the opportunity to fulfill needs mandated by digitalization, urbanization and regional integration saying that the gap in infrastructure is huge.
The African Union eyes executing 69 infrastructure projects in the sectors of transport, water, electricity, and ICT. Those are worth $60 million, Abou Zeid revealed.
President of the World Association of Investment Promotion Agencies (WAIPA) Fahad Al Gergawi thanked Egypt for encouraging investment under the leadership of President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi.
“I also thank Egypt for promoting investment in Africa, which would have a positive impact on its peoples,” WAIPA president said.
“WAIPA supports the forum to achieve its strategic goals, mainly through technical assistance,“ Gergawi added.
In spite of COVID-19 challenges, WAIPA offered vocational training and institutional capacity-building programs through an online platform to a number of Africa countries, WAIPA president noted.
WAIPA president concluded his speech by noting that FDI plays a major role in making development plans materialize and reinforcing regional integration.
Secretary General of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Wamkele Mene says he is optimistic about negotiations aimed at enhancing intra-African trade and services over the next decade.
Investment facilitation plays an essential role in achieving such goal, AfCFTA Secretary General stressed. He added that articulating a harmonious legal framework for the investment regime is salient either.
That is in addition to “articulating a coherent investment framework on a continental level, establishing an African payment platform and enhancing the digital infrastructure,” Mene said.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shokry quoted Egyptian president’s previous words of “no peace without development and no development without stability.”
Minister Shokry underlined that Egypt’s work in Africa has been consistent with such principles.
Examples include pushing forward for AfCFTA activation, promoting Cairo-Cape Town project, and hosting Cairo International Center for Conflict-Resolution and Peacekeeping in Africa among others, the foreign minister elaborated.
Shokry added that Egypt always backs measures and initiatives designed to fulfill 2030 SDGs and Africa Development Agenda 2063.
Egypt signed an MoU with each of Sudan and South Sudan on enhancing bilateral investment relations during the forum’s opening.