The African Economic Summit Ends With Calls to Boost Economy With Investment
Sunday marks the end of the African economic summit in Egypt. The two-day conference event was attended by leaders and bankers across Africa. At the event's closing, attendees vowed to push for trade and investments on the continent.
Boosting trade and investment has been the summit's focus as 1,200 delegates from different countries and institutions negotiate a business agreement that would attract private sector investments. As Egypt's president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi stated on the summit's opening, the forum was aimed at pushing forward trade and investment in the continent to strengthen Africa's place in the world economy. The conference was specifically expected to open a direct channel of communication and cooperation regarding trade and investment.
The conference was arranged by Egypt, alongside the African Union (AU), in partnership with the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA). Together, Egypt and the AU already has investments worth $8 billion in Africa, according to BusinessDay. The overall investment figure agreed was undisclosed, but the organizers said several memorandums of understanding were signed for projects in various sectors, including infrastructure, health, and information technology.
The economic forum, called "Africa 2016", reflects the organizers' determination to establish Egypt as a gateway for foreign investments into the African market. According to AfricaNews, the organizers are seeking to turn the spotlight on Egypt as its economy remains sluggish after years of political turbulence since 2011, after the ouster of president Hosni Mubarak. Egypt's economy also suffered setbacks on tourism as its main sector due to political instability and recent incidents.
The first move toward a change in Egypt's economy is regarded crucial for the overall improvement of the whole continent. During the summit, leading bankers revealed that despite several challenges including those emerging from "terrorism", Africa remained an investment destination. However, analysts also believed that despite the economic growth rate of more than four percent throughout the continent, Africa still accounts for about only two percent of global trade.
News24 reported that Africa Development Bank plans to invest $12 billion in the continent's energy sector. The bank's president Akinwumi Adesina said the plan will be carried out over the next five years. The energy sector was chosen because, despite growth in several areas, Africa still has 645 million people without access to electricity.
With new investment plans, Africa's economy is expected to growth by 4.4 percent this year and 5 percent in 2017. The African economic summit ended with calls for investment, whereas leaders and bankers vowed to push for more trade and investment on the continent to boost economic growth.