President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has said it is time for Africans to spend their monies in African to make the continent the wealthy place it ought to be.
He thus extended an invitation to Africa’s living in the diaspora (Global Africans) to turn their investment sets to the continent, noting that with the coming into being of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), the stage is set for the continent to attract their investments for its industrial development and transformation.
“Like the vision of our forebears, the AfCFTA sets the stage for Africa’s industrialization and transformation. What is required now is for our respective governments and businesses to show bold leadership. We need coherent and complimentary strategic actions by governments and businesses.
“The right mix of policies and strategies for exports, value addition to raw commodities and a greater sense of purpose to ensure a robust intra-Africa trade, to drive agricultural growth, economic diversification and the much-needed industrialization of the continent” President Akufo-Addo said during the launch of the Global Africa Network, as a platform to galvanize Global African (African Diaspora) with access to funds to channel their investment portfolios into Africa.
The Network was launched at the maiden Global Africa Forum convened on the margins of the 78th UN General Assembly in New York. The theme for the forum was “Mobilising Global Africa Investments to boost Intra-African Trade”
The forum was held on the 21st of September and was attended by several African policy and business leaders as well as leading Global Africans.
“As the saying goes, nothing succeeds as much as success. If we work at it, if we stop being beggars and spend Africa’s money inside the continent, Africa would not have to ask for respect from anyone, we will get the respect we deserve.
“Twenty years ago, thirty years ago, China was not where it is today. China does not ask anyone for respect today, she does not need to. Let us make our continent the joyful and prosperous place it should be and the respect will follow” Akufo-Addo added.
Concrete areas of investment
Secretary-General of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) secretariat, Wamkele Mene, addressing the gathering on available areas of opportunity that the AfCFTA believes are accessible to potential investors to explore on the continent, noted that, the AfCFTA has identified some four (4) major areas of interest.
He indicated that the areas as identified by the AfCFTA are the manufacturing sector, the pharmaceutical industry, the agriculture sector and the newly created one (1) billion dollars AfCFTA adjustment fund which has been established to support productive sector investments.
“The fund is not intended for budget support. It is intended for productive sector investments. What we envisage is that you as the diaspora with global capital, will see the adjustment fund as a vehicle for channeling your investment and to see returns on your investments” Wamkele Mene said.
“This are the four areas that we have identified which are concrete, which we believe will be long lasting and impactful and will create job opportunities in Africa so that millions of young Africans stop being buried deep in the Mediterranean. We can create jobs for them at home on the African continent and that is why I think this dialogue is so very important” he added.
On his part, Kofi Appenteng, the President and Chief Executive Officer of the African American Institute (AAI), observed that there are three things that governments on the African continent need to take action on in order to create an enabling environment to attract funds from existing diaspora networks.
The first he said is ease of travel and the challenges that exist with getting visas to be able to travel to the African continent on short notice. According to the AAI president, “if you (Africa) want to create an enabling environment for investments, people need to be able to travel easily”.
“This is something that is within the power of African countries to do something about and it is in line with the African Continental Free Trade Area. We are not going to have the opportunity to create this market if travel continue to be difficult” Kofi Appenteng said.
“The other is, for those who do not have citizenship of any African country, there needs to be the ability for a pathway for residency and also citizenship, because if you are really going to make long term investments, you are going to really need to know that if you go and sit, watch your money and make partnership, etc., that you can do so [safely and freely].
“This is something that again is in the control of African governments”. The last concern has to do with the real estate sector and the ability to buy real estate or houses” Mr Appenteng added.
Executive Chairman of the Africa Prosperity Network (APN) and Senior Partner of the Africa Legal Associates (ALA), Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko, stated that the economic integration of Africa is the surest pathway to guarantee the continent’s peace, security and prosperity for all her peoples.
The best way to achieve this integration in Mr Otchere-Darko’s view, is to have a mindset of Africa without borders. The concept of global Africa he said, will be much more meaningful and find expression if the continent gets rid of the borders that are dividing her currently.
He told the gathering that investors who are not Africans in any shape or form, have invested in Africa and their investments have become profitable. The “global African,” Mr Otchere-Darko said, must see the need to also invest in the continent with profitability as a target.
“Back in January 2021, we (Africa) gave birth to the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) which potentially means that we are creating a single largest economy in the world by virtual of the AfCFTA. If that is going to happen, then every man and woman of African descent, should see the role that they can play in that” Gabby Otchere-Darko said.
The Chinese, he said, have also caught the vision and are investing heavily in Ghana and other parts of the African continent because they fore-see that sooner rather than later, Africans will stop traveling to China to purchase their products and so they see the need to build their factories right on the continent.
America to Mr Otchere-Darko, is doing very little in this regard in Africa, however, he noted that it is time for the Africa American, the global African, to wake up to the reality and believe in the continent as a viable place to invest their capital.
Global Africa Network Launched
Executive Chairman of APN, Gabby Otchere-Darko, in launching network noted that since the 21 September is the birthday of Ghana’s first President Dr Kwame Nkrumah, it was appropriate for him to the start with a quote from the former President some 60 years ago when the OAU (Organization of African Unity) was created.
“The resources are there; it is for us to marshal them in the active service of our people. Unless we do this by our concerted effort, within the framework of our combined planning, we shall not progress at the tempo demanded by today’s events and the mode of our people.
“The symptoms of our troubles will grow and the troubles themselves, become chronic. It will then be too late for pan African unity to secure for us stability and tranquility in with our neighbours for a continent of social justice and material well-being” Mr Otchere-Darko said in quoting the late Dr Kwame Nkrumah.
To serve as a platform for Global Africans to engage with African leaders on critical areas for investments.
To serve as a platform for the African private sector to forge partnerships with Global Africans.
Membership of the network is open to Diasporan associations, fund managers, investment brokers and asset managers.
The Africa Prosperity Network, the Africa-America Institute and the UNDP’s Regional Bureau for Africa will work together to manage the activities of the Network by creating such platforms for members to engage with the African continent.