17 October 2021 08:03 PM

Conferences

IPAs Africa Forum 1

Sunday، 13 June 2021 01:09 PM

Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouli inaugurated Friday the first forum of the heads of African investment promotion agencies (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.

Top attendees include Secretary-General of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Wamkele Mene, the CEO of the World Association for Investment Promotion Agencies (WAIPA), and African Union (AU) Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy Amani Abou Zeid. Further, Egyptian businesspeople who have successful experiences of investment in Africa will participate.

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 Shoukry quoted Egyptian president’s previous words of “no peace without development and no development without stability.”

Minister Shoukry 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.

Shoukry added that Egypt always backs measures and initiatives designed to fulfill 2030 SDGs and Africa Development Agenda 2063.

Opening Session

Africa has "unlimited" opportunities to turn into a global hub for industrialisation, Egypt's Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly said on Friday during the opening session of the African Investment Promotion Agencies (IPAs) Forum.

Madbouly said the whole world, especially emerging markets and developing economies, is reeling from the coronavirus pandemic's consequences, including the "unequal" distributions of the vaccines in favour of affluent countries.

The curbs imposed on travel, Madbouly underscored, is the second challenge to global trade's recovery, while the third challenge is the increasing inflation rates globally amid declining income due to low employment. The fourth challenge is trade disputes, he noted.

Madbouly asserted that the African countries have their own challenges, adding that "Although Africa is the second-largest continent in the world..., it is still the poorest among the world's continents.”

"Up to 70 percent of the world's poor live in Africa and this percentage is set to increase by 2030," the premier further said.

Madbuoly added that the multi-day forum, which is being held under the slogan “Integration for development”, aims at turning the challenges facing Africa into gifts.

Madbouly noted that over 60 percent of Africa's population is under the age of 25, and this figure can be turned into a "productive and consuming force."

Africa’s contribution, however, does not exceed 2 percent of the world's total economic output, or around $2.6 trillion out of the world's production value which is worth $131 trillion, he added.

He pointed out that the continent's exports of manufactured products do not exceed 20 percent of the world's total exports, indicating that the continent's reliance on primary commodities makes it less resilient in the face of economic shocks and global price fluctuations.

"Also, internal conflicts and terrorist operations undermine … any development efforts aimed at consolidating prosperity across the continent," the PM said.

Despite all of the aforementioned challenges, said Madbouly, "we have unlimited opportunities to localise manufacturing processes, and create African supply chains so that the continent will become the factory of the world in the future," he added.

Dialogue for exchanging expertise

In addition to the PM's comment's, Egypt's Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said the forum represents an all-out platform for investment officials in African countries, which will promote direct dialogue and exchanging expertise.

He said Africa is rich with diverse natural and human resources, which would help boost infrastructure in order to lure direct foreign investments.

Shoukry said Egypt has been exerting strenuous efforts to achieve the hoped-for development, reviewing the steps made by Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi over the past years to promote cooperation with African states and realize continental integration.

He added that El-Sisi launched the Aswan Forum for Sustainable Peace and Development to be a "favourable" forum for consultation on the challenges that hinder the promotion of investments in Africa.

Shoukry wished that the forum's outcomes would contribute to boosting investments in Africa.

First Session

Minister of International Cooperation Rania Al-Mashat said the Egyptian-African relations are witnessing an unprecedented boom under President Abdel Fattah El Sisi's leadership and his open political diplomacy to boost ties with all partners.

The private sector plays a major role in boosting these relations through major development projects launched within Egypt’s membership to the presidential initiative for Africa infrastructure development, she told a session of the first forum of the heads of African investment promotion agencies (IPAs).

The Egyptian private sector is implementing some vital projects in Africa, covering many sectors, including transport and water resources, she added.

For example, the Arab Contractors Company implements projects in 23 African countries in various fields of infrastructure with investments of more than $1.5 billion, the minister revealed.

The ministry aims to promote Egypt's partnerships with multilateral and bilateral development partners, governments, international economic policy makers, the private sector and civil society to achieve the National Development Agenda 2030 in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, under the presidential decree regulating its role No. 303 of 2004, she added.

Meanwhile, Planning Minister Hala el Said noted that Egypt invested about EGP 1.7 trillion to develop infrastructure during the past seven years.

She added that Egypt’s sustainable development vision was set in cooperation with the private sector, noting that the economic and social reform programs were formed while the government had modified legislations to enhance the participation of the private sector to facilitate the measures of the local and foreign investments.

The program also includes establishing the Suez Canal development axis, electricity plants and road networks, the minister said, adding that these projects had enhanced the competitiveness of Egypt on several international indexes.

Planning Minister Hala el Said also pointed out to the establishment of the Sovereign Fund of Egypt that is considered one of the mechanisms that will enhance the partnership with the private sector.

She added that the new fund has succeeded to attract more local and foreign investors and partners as well as signing agreements and partnerships, including participating in the establishment of the Egyptian national company for manufacturing railways.

Supporting the climate of business and private sector is one of the main axes of the national program of structural reforms in Egypt, the minister further said.

Secretary General of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Wamkele Mene underlined that the absence of a legal framework caused the absence of intra-African infrastructure and as a consequence the rates of infra-African trade is very low.

“If we actively benefit from the AfCFTA, we can collectively be as competitive as China or India in the coming 20 years,” Mene clarified.

Ensuring the optimum implementation of the AfCFTA area, the organization developed in collaboration with Afreximbank a digital platform that identifies the country of origin of products.

“We have to boost industrialization in pharmaceuticals, and automobile sectors among others,” the AfCFTA secretary general added.

Mene also suggested investing in joint African corporations creating models similar to multinationals.

The African official also stressed the salience of the facilitation and protection of investment. He pointed out that COVID-19 pandemic cut FDI inflow to Africa by 40%.

Sudanese Minister of Investment and International Cooperation El-Hadi Mohamed Ibrahim pointed out that attracting serious investment is about creating a favorable investment climate.

Ibrahim said Sudan has embarked on a reform program and promulgated relevant laws.

He added that Islamic banking and financing have been introduced given that many Sudanese investors used to refrain from getting loans out of certain religious beliefs.

Showcasing how Africa is rich in natural resources highlighting Sudan as an example, the minister says his country has 98 percent of the types of mineral resources existing on the planet.

As restrictions on financing Sudan are lifted, all funds acquired from international institutions will be directed to development.

With regard to economic relations with fellow African countries, the minister asserted that strong investment relations between Egypt and Sudan must remain as are.

“Sudan has the potential to grow wheat in amounts that would suffice both Sudan and Egypt, which both import wheat,” Ibrahim elaborated.

The minister added that introducing more ports in Sudan will benefit many African countries, particularly closed ones. Ibrahim clarified that Sudan can get connected with fellow African states located to the west until Senegal, and with others to the east such as Ethiopia, and Djibouti.

In a similar context, South Sudanese Minister of Investment Dhieu Mathok Diing highlighted that his country is well connected with neighboring countries via roads, except for Sudan and Kenya.

As for the sectors South Sudan aspires to attract investment to, they include agriculture, mining, and mapping natural resources among others.

Managing Director of the Democratic Republic of Congo Investment Promotion Agency (ANAP) Anthony Nkinzo Kamole argued that the base for a booming intra-African trade is not just shared infrastructure and roads but also socio-economic and cultural integration.

Given that economic integration requires resolving certain local problems, Kamole showcases that agricultural issues always extend to neighboring countries and are never confined to a certain country.

Second Session

Minister of Transport Kamel al-Wazir explained Friday in IPAs Africa Forum 1 that Egyptian railway lines have to reach Saloum in the west so it would extend to Libya and, Abou Simbel in the south so it would extend to Sudan’s Wadi Halfa.

France’s Allison as well as a number of Egyptian companies will execute the Egypt-Sudan rail line project stretching over 283 kilometers, including 150 kilometers in Egypt.

It will later reach Abou Hamd, then Khartoum. The project will be financed through a loan.

The trains will be designed to operate on Sudan’s railways whose width is one meter compared to Egypt’s whose width is 140 centimeters.

Speaking of urban ports, Egypt developed those in the south that are Arkin, Qansal, and Ras Hadroba. That’s in addition to Saloum in the west.

Egypt paved roads stretching over 1,155 kilometers locally so they will be part of a road stretching over 10,228 kilometers extending to Cape Town.

Minister Wazir added that there is also a project to establish a road between Egypt and Chad.

The minister argued that roads attract investments in the commercial and real estate sectors. He pointed out that in seven years, Egypt’s ranking of road quality jumped from the 128th place to the 28th place.

Deputy Speaker of the House of Egypt’s Representatives Mohamed Abou El Enein suggested that launching initiatives designed to exploit each type of its resources for it is very rich in minerals and solar energy given that sunny daylight remains for 14 hours a day on average in Africa.

“We want more specialized industrial zones, which will attract small investors and boost feeding industries,” Abou El Enein said.

AU Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy Amani Abou-Zeid showcased that studies indicate that risks of investment in Africa are lower than those in many areas in the world or at least the same as most of areas.

In a different context, Abou Zeid noted that the digitalization of all sectors has become a must to achieve development in Africa because of COVID-19.

Another benefit of the pandemic is that it elicited the best of Africa whose countries were helping each other during the crisis, the AU commissioner highlighted.

In order to establish intra-African infrastructure and promote intra-continental trade, the local development gaps of Africa has to be mended.

Given that electricity linkage is among intra-continental infrastructure projects in Africa and given that Egypt did it with Sudan, Minister of Planning and Economic Development Hala El-Said pointed out that in 2016-2017 many Egyptians would experience electricity outage for half the day, which no longer the case.

The minister shed light on the huge infrastructure revamp Egypt got over the past seven years. That cost LE1.7 trillion which is equivalent to more than $100 billion.

Said highlighted that the second phase of the economic reform program is about maintaining the sustainability of growth and development, including the creation of decent jobs.

As the private sector’s participation is key in development, the minister showcases that the Sovereign Fund of Egypt is also working on expanding the share of the private sector in state-owned economic establishments.

Simultaneously, Minister of International Cooperation Rania al-Mashat pointed out that international funding is not just directed to state plans but also to the private sector empowerment.

Although getting funding in 2020 was so hard, Egypt’s good record qualified it to receive $9.8 billion in financing from development partners, Mashat underscored.

The minister equally showcased that certain Egyptian projects received international awards such as Mahsama wastewater treatment plant and others in the transport sector.

Third Session

Participants in the 3rd session at the 1st forum of the heads of African investment promotion agencies (IPAs), being held here from June 11-14, reviewed how to promote Africa's role in global markets.

Minister of Civil Aviation Mohamed Manar and Minister of Trade and Industry Nevine Gamea attended the session, along with deputy head of the Federation for Egyptian Industries (FEI) and CEO of Elsewedy Electric Ahmed El Sewedy, Tanzania's State Minister for Investment Geoffrey Mwambe and Chairman of Angola's Private Investment and Export Promotion Agency (AIPEX) António Henriques da Silva.

Highlighting the great opportunity for regional industrial cooperation, participants agreed that African air cargo companies have proven their efficiency as a tool for promoting intra-African trade and product competitiveness.

Meanwhile, Manar underlined the need for cutting aviation costs and digitizing air cargo processes for greater African share in global trade.

He also shed light on Egypt's efforts to stimulate intra-African trade by extending its airline network and entering into new partnerships with many African nations to facilitate the movement of goods.

For her part, Gamea said that the forum's theme of "integration" is also adopted by her ministry, especially in light of Egypt's serious steps to launch a joint digital platform for promoting African products.

Moreover, the Egyptian government had also cut fees on Africa-bound freight charges by 80 per cent as part of its keen efforts to boost exports to African markets, Gamea added.

Fourth Session

Participants in the fourth session of the 1st forum of the heads of African investment promotion agencies (IPAs), being held from June 11-14, discussed drawing up a unified agenda for boosting investments in Africa, regional tools to enhance trade exchange and diversify exports, and integrating African economies into the global market.

The session was attended by CEO of COMESA Regional Investment Agency (RIA) Heba Salama, WAIPA President Fahad Al Gergawi, Chairman of the Egyptian Exchange Mohamed Farid, Head of the Uganda Investment Authority Emely Kugonza, CEO of Zimbabwe Investment and Development Agency Douglas Tawanda Munatsi, and CEO of Investment & Export Promotion Agency of Mozambique Lourenço Sambo.

Salama said that many African countries achieved remarkable progress on the ease of doing business report, including Egypt and Rwanda, adding that a main key to increasing investments and cross-border trade in the continent is information sharing.

Kugonza, for his part, pointed to a large presence of Egyptian firms in his country, saying it is a clear good example of integration among the African countries.

On the sidelines of IPAs Africa Forum 1

Madbouli meets tourism investors

Egypt’s Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouli met tourism investors in Sharm El-Sheikh city. The meeting was attended by Minister of Tourism and Antiquities Khaled El-Enani.

Madbouli meets AfCFTA chief

Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouli wished that the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) would increase the volume of trade exchange among the African countries, a matter which help boosting growth rates and creating more jobs.

Madbouli during his meeting with AfCFTA Secretary-General Wamkele Mene, said the AfCFTA Secretariat has a big role in guaranteeing the best implementation of the agreement terms, calling on African countries to ratify the agreement.

Meanwhile, Mene pointed out that he would embark on a tour to countries in western and eastern Africa to urge them to join the agreement, thanking Egypt for being one of the leading countries which support the agreement and exert efforts to enhance the joint African action.

Madbouli witnesses inking 2 MoUs with Sudan, South Sudan

Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouli witnessed the signing two memorandums of understanding (MoU) with Sudan and South Sudan, the Cabinet's media office said in a statement.

The first MoU is between the General Authority For Investment and Free Zones (GAFI) and the Sudanese Ministry of Investment and International Cooperation. The second one is between GAFI and the South Sudanese Ministry of Investment.

The two deals aim to exchange economic information about the investment opportunities as well as investment regulations and laws in order to cooperate on developing the legislation and regulations to improve the business and investment climate.

They also encourage exchanging visits of businessmen and investors to discuss setting up joint projects and hold training courses and workshops.

Madbouli: Sisi always directs to fully cooperate with Sudan

Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouli asserted that President Abdel Fattah El Sisi always directs to completely cooperate with Sudan, greeting Sudanese Minister of Investment and International Cooperation Al-Hadi Mohamed Ibrahim on signing a MoU with the General Authority For Investment and Free Zones (GAFI).

The prime minister wished that the inked MoU would contribute to enhancing the investment ties with Sudan.

Meantime, Ibrahim conveyed Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok's greetings to Madbouli, wishing the deal would benefit Sudan and foster the bilateral ties.

The minister thanked President Sisi for his strong supportive stances towards Sudan and his recent statements during the Paris Conference on Sudan.

Madbouli: Sisi always directs to exert all efforts to further cooperation with S. Sudan

Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouli said that President Abdel Fattah El Sisi strenuously follows up the development of relations.

The president has always directed to further cooperation with South Sudan and meet its needs, Madbouli said.

The prime minister congratulated Diing on signing a MoU with the General Authority For Investment and Free Zones (GAFI), wishing that the inked MoU would contribute to enhancing the investment ties with South Sudan.

The South Sudanese minister, for his part, expressed his happiness for cooperation with GAFI, lauding the authority's keenness to permanently communicate with the Investment Ministry in Juba.

The premier wished stability and development for the South Sudanese people.

Tanzanian min.: Egypt one of 10 largest economic partners in Africa

Tanzanian Minister of Industry and Trade Geoffrey Mwambe said Egypt is one of Africa's 10 largest economic partners to his country.

He made the remarks in statements to MENA on Saturday 12/6/2021 on the fringe of the first forum of the heads of African investment promotion agencies (IPAs), being held in Sharm El-Sheikh from June 11-14.

He hailed Egypt's investment rates, manufacturing expertise, capital market management, and monetary policies.

He urged Egyptian companies to invest in Tanzania, especially in industrial complexes and agricultural products.

He referred to the participation of several Tanzanian development projects, including Stiegler's Gorge hydroelectric Dam.

He said African countries have a great chance to promote joint investments in light of the activation of the African Continental Free Trade Area deal.

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