Vice-President Mahamudu Bawumia has proposed three broad areas which could bring about the transformation of Africa.
Speaking at the maiden Africa Prosperity Dialogues at the Safari Valley Resort in Adukrom, Eastern Region, Dr Bawumia urged African businesses to thrash out smart ways to develop the continent.
He urged guests, “First, there is the need for smart investments in critical infrastructure.”
Dr Bawumia said there is a need for Africans to produce and trade “our way out of poverty and underdevelopment, and we cannot do that without investing in smart infrastructure across the continent”.
The vice-president said even though the past few decades have attracted some degree of positive investment, there is a need for additional resources to finance the “arteries for trade”, which include physical infrastructure such as roads, rail and energy; digital infrastructure, such as data centres to facilitate the digital transformation; and financial infrastructure to allow for integrated financial markets.
“These investments will be critical to delivering the success of the AfCFTA,” Bawumia said.
The vice-president argued that, secondly, there is a need to unleash the productive capacities across the continent.
“We must create platforms for knowledge brokerage and access to information on critical products and services on the continent to allow 445 million small businesses across the continent to plug into the value chains of these mega industries,” Dr Bawumia said.
“We need to develop Africa into a manufacturing zone that will facilitate the trade of value-added products. These, in my view, will be critical to leapfrog Africa’s industrialisation and the enormous socio-economic benefits,” he said.
Finally, Bawumia said there is also a need to mobilise finance and investments on the continent.
“Africa needs between US$130 billion and US$170 billion annually to bridge its infrastructure gap and generate sustainable growth at 5% per annum or more.”
“This presents immense opportunities for the private sector investment. Attracting private sector participation through Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) is therefore, essential for the delivery of various infrastructure projects” Dr Bawumia noted.
Boosting intra-African trade
Bawumia said the AfCFTA is a game-changer and, once fully realised, “We [will] increase intra-African trade by some US$35 billion and reduce external import by some US$10 billion annually.
“This will mean an opportunity for growth and for our small businesses and the potential to lift more than three million people from poverty.”
He said the AfCFTA has set the stage for Africa’s industrialisation drive but, “It will take concrete strategic action by governments and businesses on the continent the right mix of policies, a greater sense of purpose for a more robust intra-Africa trade to happen to support economic diversification and the much-needed industrialisation of the continent.”
The maiden series of the Africa Prosperity Dialogues launched today (26 January) and will end on Saturday (28 January).
The event, also dubbed the Kwahu Summit, involves captains of industry, entrepreneurs, economists, bankers and other business leaders in Africa taking part in three days of discussion about what needs to be done next to expand trade and wealth creation across the continent.
The Africa Prosperity Dialogues is a strategic platform where movers and shakers in the African economy will elevate the objectives of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) from ambition to real action.
The summit will be a focused annual event where African leaders from diverse areas of national endeavour will gather to discuss and share experiences on initiatives required for Africa to achieve the goal of shared prosperity and to review the Africa Agenda for Action.