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US-Africa summit opportunity for Africa investment opportunities

19 Jul 2022

Botswana’s presence at the 14th US-Africa summit,provides a cutting-edge opportunity on investment at a critical time when the country is charting new growth paths to jump-start the economy, post COVID-19.

“The idea is that we must participate at different roundtables and thematic themes so that we sell Botswana to potential investors,” Botswana’s permanent representative to African Union, also Ambassador to Ethiopia, Mr Zenene Sinombe said in an interview ahead of the summit that started yesterday .

He said the meet, held under the theme, Building Forward Together, resonated with President Masisi’s Reset Agenda priorities, which included saving Batswana from COVID-19, value chain development and digitalisation. He said it was also a good platform for cementing relations with other countries.

“For example, COVID-19 has taught African countries that they should improve ICT infrastructure and the summit presents an opportunity for finding solutions for the continent to improve the digitalisation agenda, among other things,” he said.

Mr Sinombe also said the summit would provide leaders with a platform to discuss, among others, livelihoods and health-related issues as well as engage with US companies in different sectors of the economy.

He said at AU level, countries had developed the Africa Partnership Strategy, which was a template for all partners willing to invest in the continent.

“This is meant to ensure that all partners willing to invest in Africa do not tell us what areas of interest they want to pursue, but the other way round", he said.

Mr Sinombe said so far most African countries had cross-cutting issues such as prioritising saving lives, owing to challenges that COVID-19 had presented to the continent.

He said the summit came at a time when the continent was repositioning itself and growing investment opportunities through the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

As such, he said phase one of the AfCFTA negotiations regarding rules of engagement was ongoing, adding that once done, each member state would put tariff offers on the table, which would then be followed by implementation.

“There is a lot of euphoria and excitement around AfCFTA and no partner around the world wants to be left behind. 

Everyone wants to find out what they should do for the seamless rollout of this AfCFTA initiative. 

Indeed we are hoping to come back stronger through it and everyone believes in it,” he said.

Also, he said there was a fund put forward to shield African firms from the harmful effects of implementing AfCFTA.

That, he said, was meant to hand-hold African companies into operationalising the AfCFTA.

Mr Sinombe added that Botswana was participating in all the AfCFTA aspects through the Ministry of Trade and Industry and would ratify it once negotiations were complete.

“The agreement has so far been signed. 

Ratification comes when we are satisfied with what is on the table. 

I want to assure Batswana that government is committed to ratifying this agreement,” he said.

Meanwhile, Corporate Council on Africa (CCA) chief executive officer, Ms Florie Liser said the summit had been organised to provide access, connections and insights into doing successful business with US multinational entities.

The summit also brought together US government officials as well as the private sector to engage more and seal business deals, she said.

Ms Liser said at the previous summit that was held in Mozambique in 2019, the US government launched the Prosper Africa initiative, putting together its 17 agencies to promote trade, investment and commercial ties the continent.

“We bring them all together for easy coordination with Africa and the private sector,” she said.

She added that since the Prosper Africa launch in 2019, a number of deals had been signed, especially in the energy sector.

Ms Liser also said trade and investment were top in the agenda of CCA as an enabler to forge partnerships that would help the continent exploit its value chains, owing to Africa’s endowment in raw material commodities and ability to create more jobs for the citizenry.

“Africa cannot just ‘fold hands’ where as she has 60 per cent of the world’s arable land and such things as food insecurity should be a thing of the past,” she said. Ends

Source : BOPA

Author : Mmoniemang Motsamai

Location : Marrackech

Event : Meeting

Date : 19 Jul 2022