Experts at AEC argue regional integration can boost FDI into Africa

Experts at the fifth African Economic Conference (AEC) in Kigali, Rwanda have argued that regional integration in Africa would boost foreign direct investment (FDI) into the continent.

According to a press release from the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) issued in Kigali, Rwanda and copied to, the experts agreed that Africa would need to strengthen regional integration in order to boost increased FDI on the continent, “because it creates larger domestic markets and stimulates trade, two elements that can attract FDI”, it said.

Andrew Mold, a senior Economic Affairs Officer of the ECA, was cited as saying, “At a time when China, India, Brazil and other large emerging markets are taking on such a prominence in the global economy, we must surely focus the minds of African policymakers, particularly from smaller, landlocked countries, on the importance of pushing forward the regional integration agenda.”

He argued further that attracting FDI in Africa could be facilitated by the adoption of appropriate trade and macroeconomic policy regimes that promote regional integration activities.

According to him by  banding together through regional integration arrangements, member countries can enhance their bargaining power in international economic relations.

“Such power can be especially beneficial in trade negotiations, particularly for small countries”, the release quoted him as saying.

Rwanda’s Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, John Rwangombwa, according to the press release, said that in the continued uncertainties of the global economy, Africa must present itself as the most profitable and secure destination of investors’ funds that are scared of the problems in the Western markets.

“It is worrying to know that Africa attracts less than nine percent of FDI. We need as much as possible to continue reducing the uncertainties about the evolution of our economies,” he said.

Policy makers at the conference showed a wide consensus that regional integration in Africa is the way to go, the release noted.

By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi

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