Africa Trade Magazine

Meeting the challenges of competitiveness and investments in Africa.

Following a successful first edition which laid the foundation in October 2014, of a real emergence of Africa, the second edition of Rebranding Africa Forum will be held in Brussels from 16 to 18 October 2015. Under the theme "Investing in Africa, undertaking for Africa", the aim of the second edition is to pave the way for a new approach capable of ensuring the balance between investments and entrepreneurship in Africa.

Samori Media Connection group, editor of the Pan African magazine Notre Afrik, has deliberately chosen to initiate a joint reflection on investments in Africa. After having proclaimed during the first edition of Rebranding Africa Forum (RAF), that "emergence cannot be decreed", experts, consultants, political and economic decision makers, high level personalities invited to this give-and-take meeting on the growth and development of Africa, will scrutinise its induced effects on investments in the Dark Continent.

All experts testify that since the year 2000, Africa attracts more and more foreign investors, basically from emerging economies. In 2011, the leading trio was Malaysia, (14 billion Euros), India (11.9 billion Euros) and China (10.4 billion Euros). More generally, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) announced in its 2014 report on the economic perspectives in Africa that, foreign direct investment (FDI) in the continent could reach a record amount of 80 billion dollars (58.4 billion Euros) and experience an average growth of 4.8% in 2014 and 5.7% in 2015. In 2014, UNCTAD rightly called to ... « catalyse investment for a transformative growth in Africa », thus pointing out the means of its implementation to "spur investment" and "place it to the service of an economic transformation and sustained growth in Africa".

Stimulate investment and put it at the service of economic transformation and sustained growth in Africa.

Taking support on the real investment intentions in favour of the continent, the Rebranding Africa Forum, will bring out relevant insight to benefit more from the tremendous economic potential of Africa, which is today considered as the new frontier. "We are proud to belong to a continent considered as the new frontier. Yes, indeed we are proud of this double digits growth, but we will not cease urging that this growth should be more inclusive", insisted Thierry Hot, CEO of de Samori Media Connection, in October 2014.

Last year, the six panels programmed for the launching of this platform - a real rendez-vous of the renewal of the continent - analyzed the theme "The emergence of Africa, at what price?" This year's edition aims to put together the numerous avenues of investment in Africa with a great need to kick off the continent. The President of the French Council of Investors in Africa (Cian), Alexandre Vilgrain, acknowledged in "La Lettre du Cain" in March–April 2015, that "Africa has all the resources to move from the stage of development to that of emergence?" Though he later on moderated, "this rich Africa is fragmented".

The Rebranding Africa Forum should therefore be the dynamic lever to transcend barriers to investment and boost entrepreneurial supply for and with Africa...

Debates between personalities and experts coming from the four corners of the world -business owners, economic and political decision makers, national and international investors, leaders of financial institutions, etc- , should therefore help at the end of this forum "to identify the challenges that would likely make African economies more attractive to investors and international entrepreneurs". These debates should also highlight "the top priority sectors towards which investments in Africa have to be channelled and following which modalities". In so doing, the Rebranding Africa Forum would put forward relevant credible means and the strategies necessary to address the challenges. Displaying and thus strengthening its calling of being sustainable, "the framework where the reflections on the profound transformations that Africa needs today to forge a new face and progressively realise its aspirations".

This is because – should it be recalled? - the African continent has substantial resources and has been riding for a while on waves of significant economic growth. "The continent has what it takes to ensure a long term sustainable economic growth", says with conviction Abdoulaye Bio Tchané, President of the Alindaou Consulting International consultancy. There is a need, considering the series of opportunities, to reflect on the strategies and to outline strict priorities so as to permanently put Africa on the track of a lasting and sustainable development.

Recalling the issues raised in 2014 by Daniel Evina Abe'e, the Cameroon Ambassador in Belgium: "Have we ourselves as Africans, become aware of this sudden attractiveness? And most importantly, are we prepared?" And as the Cameroonian diplomat puts it, "Africa that had a bad start, now seems to be the continent with the most assets".

A continent that certainly has lots of assets but which has yet to face the virtuous spirals of competitiveness to better boost investment prospects in all directions.
To this end, we should take to the word of the outgoing President of the African Development Bank, Donald Kaberuka, guest of honour at RAF 2014: "Tackling inequalities, fighting for a greater inclusion, handle intelligently the various challenges and contradictions raised by the social and economic development of the continent..."According to him- winner in 2014 of the Development Champion award of Rebranding Africa Forum, for his leadership in favour of the African continent,- "growth is only a means and a condition, but it is not sufficient. It must lead to economic transformation which will bring about emergence by itself".

By working efficiently on all these levers, Africa will succeed in making up or at least in reducing the gap between competitiveness and investments in order to give more opportunities to an entrepreneurship that would be more aggressive through win-win partnerships which are more promising. Indeed, the vitality of investments in Africa, remains somehow weighed down by the challenge of competitiveness. Thus, following the UNCTAD report on the economic development in Africa and according to the Africa Competitiveness Report 2013 - "14 African countries are among the last 20 on the world index for competitiveness!" Some of the reasons being, "lack of infrastructure, high transaction costs associated with the creation and operation of a company, and the deficiencies of the judicial system in the settlement of trade disputes". It is hence estimated that, "the productivity of companies is reduced by 40% and the rise in per capita income of 2%, because of lack of infrastructure", further notes the UNCTAD report.

The second edition of Rebranding Africa Forum should therefore take into consideration all these realities and act as a dynamic lever to transcend investment obstacles that exists in some countries, while exploiting to the fullest the key factors that would likely boost supply for and with Africa. your social media marketing partner




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