Democratic Republic of the Congo President: Africa needs 'deep investment', as its wealth of human resources is 'largely untapped'

In addition to internal reforms, Africa needs an international context that stimulates our integration into the global economy, and we value the gatherings that embrace African countries and the rest of the emerging countries, as is happening at Expo 2020

  

DUBAI – The sixth edition of Global Business Forum Africa, in partnership with Dubai Chamber (Official Business Integrator of Expo 2020 Dubai), is highlighting the huge potential for Africa’s economy and the prospects for expanding UAE-Africa economic cooperation.

Felix Tshisekedi, President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, told the forum: “Africa needs foreign direct investment. Despite Africa’s huge wealth of human resources and the large proportion of young people, these are currently largely untapped. We need to transfer knowledge and invest in infrastructure.

“African countries have worked hard to adopt economic policies that result in regional economic stability, but some countries on the continent suffer from the consequences of debt and loans. We need deep investment to increase savings and attract foreign investment. In addition to internal reforms, Africa needs an international context that stimulates our integration into the global economy, and we value the gatherings that embrace African countries and the rest of the emerging countries, as is happening at Expo 2020.

“The Democratic Republic of the Congo is located in the heart of Africa and has the potential to play a role in global trade. We have the largest area of forests after the Amazon, but the Congo and the rest of Africa suffer from a large deficit in infrastructure, which presents an obstacle to development and growth. We have changed legislation and laws to facilitate the investment environment and adopted a national export promotion agency named Anapex, with a specific mission to increase the export of agricultural products, increase the economic expansion of the Congo and create a free trade zone.”

Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, Group Chairman and CEO of DP World (Global Trade Partner of Expo 2020 Dubai), said: “I believe this is a big milestone, as this is the largest investment Africa has received in the last 72 years. One of the biggest issues in Africa is infrastructure: ports, facilities and rails. Africa needs money, which can only come from private sources, and we are very passionate about investment in Africa because we see that the continent has something that no one else has: growth. The potential is big.

“We know that ports are important because we started from scratch with Port Rashid and then Jebel Ali. Today, companies in Jebel Ali Port and Jebel Ali Free Zone contribute 32 per cent of GDP in Dubai and approximately 20 per cent of GDP for the entire country. Ports and free zones create jobs. Ports are the gateway, but they don’t create jobs by themselves – you need the free zones/industrial parks. Unless there is cargo to be transported, no one uses the ports. We are replicating what we have learnt in Dubai in other countries, such as Senegal, where we are investing in a port and industrial park. The land we are investing in is being matched by Senegal’s government, and I really admire His Excellency Macky Sall, President of the Republic of Senegal, for his vision, having decided to locate the port close to the airport to allow growth and expansion.”

His Excellency Hamad Buamim, President and CEO of Dubai Chamber, said: “We believe there is no better platform to showcase the vast economic potential of the continent [of Africa] than the first World Expo to take place in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region and the largest event to be hosted in this region and in this moment in time. Much like Expo 2020 Dubai, the aim of this forum is to engage government leaders and businesses around the world to collaborate and foster cross-border partnerships that drives sustainable economic growth and build a brighter future.

“This forum comes at a crucial time, as economies around the world start to show positive signs after the pandemic. Dubai is focussing on building trade even further, with a target of AED 2 trillion over the next five years. This includes plans to establish new shipping routes to connect Dubai with more than 400 cities around the world. The African countries, who are looking to diversify their economies and trade, are important to, and aligned with, Dubai’s strategy.”

Held today and tomorrow (13-14 October) at Dubai Exhibition Centre, Expo 2020 Dubai, Global Business Forum Africa brings together heads of state, ministers, high-ranking government officials and other influential business leaders from across Africa, with the aim of building bridges between UAE and African business communities, plus exploring untapped trade and investment potential.

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