African leaders showcase business opportunities in Dubai
The Africa Global Business Forum, organised by Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry has come and gone, with African leaders showcasing their respective countries’ investment potentials.
The forum, with the session titled ‘Next Steps – Cementing Gains and Enabling the Future’, which focused on what government leaders in Africa can do to facilitate long-term growth and how they can ensure long-term financing for these strategies.
Speaking at the session, the President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame said that “when it comes to foreign investment in his country, the fundamentals are in place, such as political stability, structural reform, macro-economic stability, increasing capacity and skills of people. Looking at the demographic trends that exist, we also see continued urbanisation, and all these elements set the stage for economic growth.”
He added that the country is moving towards regional integration and this necessitates continued investment in infrastructure.
“To set up the right environment, there is a need to focus on private investments, supported by the public sector, and work is already underway in this. For example, Rwanda looked at Roaming Charges for people in our sub-region and realised the need to integrate our network, ensuring everyone benefits.
“It is as simple as building on what already exists to bring down the barriers and continue to invest in areas such as ICT and sectors that are not affected by Rwanda’s geographical position,” he said.
President, Republic of Somalia, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, commented that his country is starting from scratch and faces tremendous challenges, but in the last three years it has seen robust institutions being established, with more to follow.
He also added that all the necessary institutions are now in place to transform the economy, such as a functioning central bank, financial governance bodies to oversee elements such as procurement, dispensation of government and investment to grow money laundering regulation.
According to him, “the country has achieved so much but also has a long way to go. There are specific factors that put Somalia in a good situation, but it takes significantly more than a decade to restore a country in a post-conflict environment. At the moment, it is building an environment that enables FDI, with many Somalis now returning from the diaspora.
“Somalia previously had only USD50 million domestic revenue per annum, and now sees more than USD140 million, as the population are coming forward to contribute to tax, as a key indicator of the increasing level of trust in the development of the country.”
He concluded that the country has started to see a reversal of the brain drain that resulted from the Somalian in Diaspora. Qualified individuals are now returning and, with 70 per cent of the population under 30, the country now needs to provide opportunities for this dynamic young population.