Africa is ready for foreign investment

World Bank Vice President for the Africa Region Obiageli Ezekwesili has said Africa needs the right institutions, policies and investments to boost private sector development and improve its attractiveness as a destination for foreign direct investments.

She stated this at a lunchen with a group of African diplomats in Washington, United States.

She said: “Africa is ready ‘big time’ for a private sector that must be the cornerstone of the next phase of Africa’s robust, pro-poor, inclusive and job-creating growth.”

The continent’s path to and responsibility for success, said Ezekwesili, lies in African governments, private sector operators and citizens – not foreigners or international organisations – working more collaboratively to create jobs, especially for women and for the seven-to-ten million African youngsters joining the ranks of the job seekers every year.

The diplomats came to the World Bank on the invitation of the office of Executive Director Hassan Ahmed Taha to obtain information on how their countries could access funds from the different arms of the global bank to boost private sector development.

African countries, Ezekwesili said, need to take advantage of the continent’s remarkable rebound from the global food, fuel and financial crises to consolidate macroeconomic stability; build capacity for entrepreneurship; boost African indigenous businesses; and explore ways of directing remittances into investments.

She advised that countries emerging from violent conflict and other forms of fragility need to set the foundation for stable and capable institutions and help bring about the more inclusive political, social and economic initiatives needed to expand opportunities and curb poverty.

The Word Bank chief cautioned that the primary responsibility is that of Africa, warning the continent must remember that the world does not owe Africa a favour.

Also, Head of the Strategy and Co-ordination Unit in the Africa Department at the International Finance Corporation (IFC), Mr James Emery, revealed that the bank has pioneered new ways to draw private investors to Africa through the Asset Management Company (AMA).

The Chief Operating Officer of the World Bank’s Multilateral Guarantee Agency (MIGA), Mr James Bond, towed the line of Mrs. Ezekwesili, insisting that the private sector will be the catalyst for the next growth phase in Africa.

Source – The Nation