Kigali, Monday, September 5, 2016: The Global Africa Investment Summit (TGAIS) hosted by COMESA and the Republic of Rwanda begun in Rwanda, Monday, September 5, 2016 with the objective of creating linkages for international investors willing to invest on the African continent.
Themed: â€œAccelerating African Economic Integration through Trade and Investmentâ€ the Summit is aimed at demystifying Africa as an investment destination. At least 1,000 delegates, including heads of State, government, representatives of multilateral organizations and members of the private sector are attending the two day summit at the Kigali Convention Centre, the first time in Africa. Previous editions have all taken place in London.
President Paul Kagame of Rwanda officially opened the summit. He emphasized the need for proper time management and good governance practices if economic development is to be attained. Â If Africa started to value time even more highly then the gap between the continent and the rest of the world will start to close rapidly.
â€œWe do not need to dwell too much on reminders that investment and good governance are critically important, and that integration is profoundly in Africaâ€™s interest,â€ President Kagame stressed. â€œWe know it, we believe in it. What remains is just to be doing what is necessary to make it reality.â€
The President urged the COMESA, EAC and SADC tripartite arrangement to quickly move and embrace the Tripartite Free Trade and foster the integration agenda. He said that the stakes are high because the bold effort was a test of Africaâ€™s ability to translate ideals and commitments into reality.
â€œIf the Tripartite Area succeeds there will be strong momentum to push for the Continental Free Trade Area, as directed by the African Union Summit last year, but if we get stuck, then the cause of integration could be slowed by years or even decades, as confidence falters in the possibility of meaningful collective action amongst African states.â€
"We therefore need to start implementing those programmes which will allow us fulfill our integration objectives even if it means a few countries do that, then we shall keep our doors open for the late comers to join,â€ said the President.
COMESA Secretary-General Sindiso Ngwenya said the reference to Africa as the fastest growing continent in the world translates into a growing market and increasing opportunities for the investors in the various sectors.
â€œGrowing market entails building capabilities to attract and retain investments. Here in the room we have experts in investments who know what investors are looking at investors themselves who know what they want, as well as decision makers who are ready to take required and necessary decisions to facilitate investment,â€ Ngwenya said.
He regretted that at this time when the world was celebrating a strong recovery in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) representing a global FDI of $1.76 trillion, a highest level since the global economic and financial crisis of 2008â€“2009, Africa still lagged behind with a share of $54 Billion.
â€œCOMESAâ€™s $19.6 billion is extremely little considering the existing potential despite the region representing 42.6% of Africaâ€™s population, 36.5% of its surface area, and 27.2% of Africaâ€™s GDP.â€ Mr Ngwenya said. â€œWith a yearly average GDP growth rate of 4.89% for the past five years, COMESAâ€™s 2014 GDP growth rate was 3.18% and attracted around $15 billion (27.8%) of Africaâ€™s total FDI inflows.â€
He noted that FDI Inflows equivalent to $19.5 billion were attracted during the last year 2015 with Egypt leading with $6.9 billion with its FDI increase by 49 percent followed by Ethiopia with $1.26.
The summit comes to end Tuesday September 2016.