Sunday, April 25, 2010

East Africa: Comesa to Bolster Member Investment

Faridah Kulabako, The Monitor [Uganda], 29 March 2010

The Common Market for East and Southern Africa States will hold an investment forum next month, an official has said.

The forum that strengthens regional partnerships targets to foster greater cooperation with international communities.

Mr Sindiso Ngwenya, the Comesa secretary general, said in a statement, that ministers of finance, investment and trade from member countries who will attend the meeting will highlight and showcase investment opportunities in their respective countries to attract new investments.

The two-day forum, which is expected to equip investors and business leaders with a clear understanding of the opportunities and benefits of working and investing in Comesa member states, will take place in Egypt between April 12 to 13.

Mr Ngwenya said the forum will open Africa to new business opportunities and improve members' ranking in international 'Doing Business' and 'Investment Climate' reports.

"We will address critical business issues and create favourable investment climates among member countries," he said.

Doing Business Report is a World Bank survey which ranks economies according to their ease of doing business by accessing their business environments.

The 2009/10 Report ranked Mauritius 17, Rwanda 67, Zambia 90, Kenya 95, Egypt 106, Ethiopia 107, Uganda 112, Malawi 132, Madagascar 134, Sudan 154, Zimbabwe 159, Comoros 162, Djibouti 163, Burundi 176, Eritrea 175 and D R Congo 182.

The summit will also address developments in key sectors including infrastructure, agro-processing, financial services, information and communication technology, tourism and renewable energy.

Mr Ngwenya said 19 African countries have so far confirmed attendance with many others showing interest.

The Forum will be hosted by the Egyptian Ministry of Investment, the country's investment promotion agency (IPA), and the General Authority for Investment (GAFI).

GAFI Chairman, Mr Osama Saleh, said in an era of global economic uncertainty, it is important for African countries to widen their network of partners and look beyond traditional borders and friends.

He said, "Africa has managed to show positive levels of growth because of strong measures taken before the global financial meltdown and the many friendships across the globe."