EJB Chairman: SMEs, startups and African youth are key to increased inter-African investments and prosperity. Business associations are best equipped to represent them and support their businesses, with the help of IPAs, regional organization and financing and investment institutions.
Gamal Abou Ali, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Egyptian Junior Business Association (EJB), participated as speaker in the session: “Egyptian Investments in Africa: Opportunities and Prospects for the Future” and moderated the session: “Encouraging African Cross-Border Investments through a Unified Agenda and Intra-Regional Initiatives”.
Abou Ali added that the forum sessions showed that there are many promising investment opportunities in the African continent for Egyptian and African investors alike, explaining the importance of the role of the Investment Authority GAFI and the Egyptian Commercial Services in collecting and analyzing the business information and opportunities for the different African countries to facilitate Egyptian companies entry into the African markets, especially since most investors go to markets of which they have good knowledge or if they worked with these markets before, and so providing information on African markets is extremely important. He also pointed out to the benefit and importance of having an electronic platform that contains all relevant information about African countries and investment opportunities to achieve integration, and to facilitate and expedite procedures for investors.
He pointed out that among the obstacles faced by investors in Africa continent is the infrastructure, explaining that Egypt and the African continent in general have been relentlessly working to overcome this obstacle. He cited as an example the Cairo-Cape Town initiative, which connects Africa from North to South. He also mentioned the logistical areas and ports, pointing out that the more they improve, the greater the volume of trade exchange between the countries of the continent, stressing that infrastructure projects in themselves contain investment opportunities for investors, because it is the private sector that eventually carries out these works.
As for investment opportunities, he said that members of the association see good investment opportunities in which startups and SMEs can play a major role: agriculture, food processing, training and education, renewable energy, infrastructure, consultancy, and fintech. He proposed an agenda to meet the challenges of Egyptian investments in Africa, the agenda includes coordination between investment agencies to obtain information on the investment environment, financing opportunities by banks and international institutions, providing an effective mechanism to ensure export and import operations, and facilitating communication processes between African investors and local partners, pointing out the collaboration of business associations, investment promotion agencies and sovereign funds can meet these challenges and implement this agenda.
Abou Ali announced EJB’s “African Junior Business Initiative AJBI”, which aims to create partnerships between companies, especially emerging ones, and small and medium enterprises in the countries of the continent, and the association will announce its details soon.
EJB’s chairman, and EJB members: Bassam Al-Shanwani, Mohamed Abdel Rahman, Mohamed Abou Basha, Nourhan El-Gabaly, Mohamed Saleh, Abdel Rahman Assal, Karim Imam, Sherif El-Gabaly, and Mazen Al-Minshawi held bilateral meetings with more than 25 African investment authorities and 6 African organizations and African financing institutions to discuss opening new markets for EJB members and the wider Egyptian business community, and presented EJB’s initiative, the "African Junior Business Initiative AJBI" to them.
On the other hand, Bassam El-Shanwany, EJB’s Secretary-General, said that EJB’s participation in the forum comes as a continuation of the association’s role and its quest for expansion in Africa and cooperation with all similar associations on the continent, adding, “We seek to implement the association’s plans, which includes promoting investment in Africa through AJBI”. He also thanked Counselor Mohamed Abdel Wahab, CEO of the General Authority for Investment and Free Zones, for inviting EJB and his continuous support for representatives of the business community, adding, “The meetings that took place on the sidelines of the forum’s activities will have a great impact on EJB’s plan to promote investment in Africa through AJBI, which was initiated by EJB and finetuned following meetings with Egyptian Commercial Services and the Executive Director of the International Monetary Fund" earlier.
El-Shanwany added that the delegation of the association met Mr. Wamkele, the executive director of the new free trade agreement "AfCFTA", where the two parties agreed to arrange a meeting with members of the association, and answer members’ questions about the agreement, how to benefit from it and the role of the agreement in enhancing and increasing trade between African countries, and the ways of changing that may occur in the agreement with the aim of accelerating the pace of investment and maximizing trade exchange between all African countries. In addition, EJB delegation met with Mr. Tarek Ammar, an expert in private sector projects at the African Development Bank, where they agreed to meet with EJB representatives at the earliest opportunity to discuss the possibility of helping Egyptian companies expand in African countries. He also met representatives of the association with more than 20 African investment authorities, who all welcomed the association's initiative.
© Press Release 2021