A Russian Bank, VNESHECONOM Bank, has expressed interest in investing in various sectors ranging from transport, energy, agriculture and technology and many more in the region.
VNESHECONOM Bank Southern Africa Representative, Andrey Saratov, said his bank is willing to invest in the COMESA region because of the vibrant economic atmosphere.
Mr. Saratov said that his bank is eager to provide support to the promotion of Russian business in Africa especially on specific developmental projects in the region so that there can be technological transfer from Russia to the COMESA region.
“We are here to look for opportunities were the interests of the COMESA region as well as Russian Businessmen meet together and then we can come up and finance those programmes”, Saratov said.
He added;” We are able to finance all various projects, be it Infrastructure, be it Electricity, be it Energy or whatever, we are able to come in and finance those projects.”
Mr Saratov said his bank is looking for opportunities for win-win cooperation between Russian Business Corporation and Africa particularly in general and the COMESA region in particular.
He said that Russian has the capacity to invest in the COMESA region because the country has enough manpower and expertise in the various sectors that need development assistance.
Meanwhile COMESA Secretary-General Sindiso Ngwenya says there is urgent need for the region to invest in regional railways if it has to remain competitive in Africa.
Mr. Ngwenya said COMRESA has so many infrastructural challenges because it is so expensive to transport good from one place to another by road or air as these modes of transport have proved to be too expensive if a trader wants to transport his goods for over 2000 kilometers.
He appealed to the Russian bank to provide funding for the construction of a regional railway system that will help reduce the cost of transporting good in the region especially that Russia has the capacity to do so.
“We have so many other projects of importance, but we would like you to partner with you in building a regional railways system that will be owned and managed by COMESA and not the countries so that regional connectivity can be enhanced and be made cheap,” Ngwenya said.
Mr. Ngwenya said the bank should work hand in hand with the project Preparation Investment unit (PPIU) at the secretariat to facilitate this venture.
The secretary general also pointed out that Russian Investors can partner with the local investors in the COMESA region in improving the agriculture sector has it has lagged behind in technological advancements.
He said that once the Russians invest in then region in the agriculture sector, the region will be able to adopt newer farming methods like the use of Biotechnology and bio-safety to improve the food security in the region and Africa as a whole.
And the Secretary-General said despite COMESA having a huge intra regional trade, there is a very weak industrialisation capacity in other sectors like the textile, garments and Agro Industry and has since called on the Russian government to invest in the sector.
“We are also expecting to establish joint venture with Russian Investors and also to buy new equipment for the Industries, particularly in textile and garments, Agriculture, in Agro processing this joint venture is welcome”, Ngwenya Concluded.