President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has called on the global investor community to recognise that Africa is now the new frontier for manufacturing, technology and food production.
According to him, the savage lessons of these past few years, “where the financial markets have been set up to operate on rules designed for the benefit of rich and developed nations, as well as the deceptive international co-operation that never shows up when there a crisis has engendered a renewed commitment towards an inclusive and sustainable industrialisation and economic integration.”
Those lessons, according to the President, experienced at a time when “the world emerged from the grip of the coronavirus to energy and food price hikes and a worldwide rise in the cost of living,” have called for the necessary reformation of the system.
Focusing on the positives from the dire situation, he said “the intensity of the challenges we face today is only matched, like never before, by the immensity of the opportunity before us. We, the current leaders of Africa, should be determined not to waste the crisis that confronts us.”
Addressing a gathering of world leaders and business people at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland, President Akufo-Addo said, “Africa sees the current geopolitical crisis as an opportunity to rely less on food imports from outside the continent and use better its sixty per cent global share of arable lands to increase food production.”
He added that “we have seen the devastating impact of relying on Russia and Ukraine for seventy per cent of our wheat consumption. We have enough land, enough water, enough gas and enough manpower to produce enough fertiliser, food and energy for ourselves and others.”
“We also recognise that we cannot do it all by ourselves. Our message to the global investor community is, therefore, this: Africa is ready for business. Africa needs you and you need Africa,” he stated.
“You need Africa because Africa is busily building the world’s largest single market of 1.3 billion people. Soon we will have a customs union and soon we will have a continental payment system that will accelerate and facilitate trade amongst ourselves.
“Already goods and services are flowing more freely across our artificial borders. See Africa for what it is: the new frontier for manufacturing, for technology and food production.”
President Akufo-Addo was addressing the World Economic Forum’s “Advancing the New Resilience Agenda” event on Tuesday at the Congress Centre, in Davos, Switzerland.
He said Africa’s renewed position is drawn from the unfair situation where, “the avenues that are opened to developed nations to enable them to take measures that would ease pressures on their economies are closed to developing nations” and the attitude of “credit rating agencies having been quick to downgrade economies in Africa, making it harder to service our debts.”
President Akufo-Addo maintained that “the tag of Africa as an investment risk is little more than, in substance, a self-fulfilling prophecy created by the prejudice of the international money market, which denies us access to cheaper borrowing, pushing us.”
Rex Mainoo Yeboah, ISD