African leaders attending BRICS embarked on an investment charm offensive, saying that the continent was open for business.
African leaders face numerous socio-economic challenges.
Speaking during the BRICS-Africa Outreach Dialogue of the 10th BRICS Summit in Johannesburg last week, African leaders appealed to the BRICS bloc to fund industrialisation, among other measures.
The heads of state at BRICS said they were ready to make Africa an effective player in global affairs as far as trade and investment were concerned.
The summit was held under the theme, “BRICS in Africa: Collaboration for Inclusive Growth and Shared Prosperity in the Fourth Industrial Revolution”.
Rwandan President Paul Kagame, in his capacity as the AU chairperson, said they wanted to strengthen partnerships with the BRICS countries – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – and to widen employment opportunities for the continent’s young population.
“We want to collaborate on industrialisation, infrastructure development and peace and security, which are at the heart of AU’s Agenda 2063,” said Kagame.
He said the African Continental Free Trade Area would in a positive way change how Africa conducted business with itself and the rest of the world.
“We are working on effecting an AU that will enhance governance and co-operation with partners around the world.”
Kagame said interest in co-operation between Africa and BRICS was palpable and assured the bloc of the continent’s willingness to further dialogues.
According to the African Economic Outlook 2018, Africa’s real output growth is estimated to have increased by 3.6 percent in 2017, up from 2.2 percent in 2016 and to accelerate to 4.1 percent in 2018 and 2019.
“Overall, the recovery in growth has been faster than envisaged, especially among non-resource-intensive economies, underscoring Africa’s resilience,” it stated.
Malawian President Peter Mutharika said the continent needed strong partners and allies in order to be the “giant of the world”.
He said the BRICS countries needed to invest in the infrastructure of developing economies.
“We hope the New Development Bank will support the investment programme of Malawi. We are ready to do business with the rest of the world in order to boost the economy and create viable economic investment. We need investments and financing infrastructure,” said Mutharika.
Namibian President Hage Geingob said Africa counted on BRICS support to overcome its challenges, adding: “Africa has strong, trusted and reliable partners. In our endeavours to move forward, we need partners to support Africa.”
The President of Senegal, Macky Sall, who is chairperson of the Nepad Heads of State and Government Orientation Committee, said Africa was looking for a mutual benefit partnership with BRICS.
“We want practical collaboration on agriculture, infrastructure, energy, finances and investment,” he said.
Sall said financial aid from the New Development Bank would help the continent achieve its strategic development goals, inclusive growth and shared prosperity.
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni said BRICS countries could find investment opportunities in East Africa in sectors including dairy, fruit, beverages and minerals sectors.
He said the combined gross domestic product of Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, South Sudan and Uganda, accounted for US$440 billion (R5.8 trillion).
Gabonese President and chairperson of the Economic Community of Central African States, Ali Bongo Ondimba, said the economic bloc offered real investment prospects in energy reserves.
He said the region was rich in natural resources.
“Resources are here, potential is here. We are ready to engage in a win-win partnership with BRICS. We have been shown the way, let’s sit down and talk for the good of our future and our children,” said Ondimba. Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa said the summit’s theme resonated with his country’s aspirations.
He said he welcomed the “numerous possibilities of co-operation the BRICS countries offered Zimbabwe.
“Zimbabwe is determined to leapfrog development and growth. We have started to industrialise and modernise certain sectors of the economy such as agro-processing, financial services and ICT,” he said.
Zimbabwe was also ready to enhance co-operation in mineral beneficiation. Mnangagwa hailed the BRICS countries as champions of multilateralism that had secured the interests of developing nations for years. “Better days await all of us in a future we are building in solidarity. I want to assure you that all measures have been taken for peaceful, transparent and credible elections,” he said.
Zimbabweans will vote in presidential, parliamentary and local government elections today..
– BUSINESS REPORT