World Bank Vice President for Africa region Hafez Ghanem - REUTERS World Bank Vice President for Africa region Hafez Ghanem - REUTERS

Interview - World Bank VP: Africa needs trade more than aid

Thu, Aug. 29, 2019
YOKOHAMA, Japan – 29 August 2019: World Bank Vice President for Africa region Hafez Ghanem said that Africa is a continent of opportunities, and it needs investments and trade more than aid.

“There are countries like India and China that found those opportunities and decided to increase their investments and this is positive. But we need to see more countries like: Japan, Europe and Arab countries,” Ghanem said during an interview with Business Today Egypt on the sidelines of the TICAD7 summit.

World Bank VP said quoting one of the bank's studies, Africa needs approximately one million new job opportunities each month for the youths who enter the labor market.

Ghanem explained that providing such a big number of jobs could only happen if investments are directed to technology.

He further noted that Asia has a significant experience in increasing the number of job opportunities during the 20th century thanks to labor-intensive manufacturing exports.

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World Bank Vice President for Africa Hafez Ghanem (L) and Business Today editor


However, Ghanem ruled out that the same experience can be replicated in Africa in the 21st Century, due to the technological advancement of this age. “The continent needs industry, agriculture, and services,” he added.

World Bank VP stated that all studies conducted by the bank shows that African states that increased the number of job opportunities over the past years are the ones that invested more in technology, like: Rwanda, which invested in agriculture, industry, and tourism.

Ghanem also stressed the importance of making the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) effective.

“Africa’s population is 1.2 million people, while India is 1.2 million people. India is one market, while Africa is 54 markets, so if you [Africa] want to have big companies and factories like India, we need to make Africa one market,” he added.

Ghanem explained that many Egyptian companies have opportunities to invest in Africa countries, and vice versa, and this will be a win-win situation.

This year, the 7th edition of the TICAD will be co-chaired fort the first time by President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, in his capacity as the head of the African Union, along with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
 
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