Africa needs $170b annually to bridge infrastructure gap – Bawumia

Dr Mahamudu Bawumia

Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia says Africa needs between $130 and $170 billion annually to bridge its infrastructure gap and generate sustainable growth at five per cent or more per annum.

To achieve that objective, he called for public-private partnerships to deliver essential physical and soft infrastructure projects such as roads, rail and other digitisation platforms to speed up Africa’s development.

“Furthermore, there is a need for innovative policies to mobilise and allocate resources more effectively and for better coordination amongst all African stakeholders and international partners,” he said.

Vice President Bawumia gave the commendation on Thursday at the opening of the Business and Policy Leaders’ Dialogue of the Africa Prosperity Dialogue at Safari Valley Resort, Adukrom, Eastern Region on Thursday.

The three-day programme was organised by the Government, through the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre, Africa Continental Free Trade Area Secretariat, Africa Prosperity Network, and Economic Commission for Africa, to deliberate on ways to attract more Foreign Direct Investment into Africa and ensure economic transformation and job creation for the youth.

It was on the theme: “AfCFTA-From Ambition to Action: Delivering Prosperity through Continental Trade”.

In attendance were business leaders, heads of investment promotion agencies, academia and the diplomatic community as well as key stakeholders in Africa and international partners.

Dr Bawumia, who was the Guest of Honour, said the time had come for Africa to present its own narrative.

“We cannot allow poverty and underdevelopment to be the destiny of Africa, a continent so blessed with every natural resource imaginable – oil, gas, minerals, and sunshine,” he said.

“We have approximately 65 per cent of all available arable land to feed nine billion people globally by 2050 and we are home to the most youthful population in the world.”

Dr Bawumia said it was imperative to develop Africa into a manufacturing zone to facilitate trade of value-added products, adding: “We have everything we need to transform Africa into a global powerhouse of the future”.

He was of the belief that with the collaborated strength of all 55 African states and 1.2 billion population, the majority of whom were young, and a GDP of $2.5 trillion, Africa could make headway in attaining its development objectives.

“This makes Africa an attractive investment destination for doing business. With the right investment, we will be able to sustain economic growth and create the job opportunities that the continent desperately needs,” the Vice President said.

He observed that the creation of AfCFTA was a real game-changer and once fully realised, it would increase intra-African trade by some $35 billion and reduce external import by $10 billion annually.

“The AfCFTA has set the stage for Africa’s industrialisation drive, but it would take concrete, strategic actions by governments and businesses on the continent, the right mix of policies, a greater sense of purpose for more robust intra-African trade to happen to support economic diversification and the much-needed industrialisation,” Dr Bawumia said.

To bring about the much-needed transformation, he proposed three broad areas that should be prioritised, including smart investments in critical infrastructure.

“As a continent, we need to produce and trade our way out of poverty and underdevelopment.”

“While the last decades have seen some positive investments, there is the need for additional resources to finance the ‘arteries for trade’, which include physical infrastructure such as roads, rail, energy, and technology…to ensure the success of the AfCFTA.”

The second is to unleash the productive capacities across the continent and create platforms for knowledge brokerage and access to information on critical products and services.

This would allow 445 million small businesses across the continent to plug into the value chains of these mega industries.

The Vice President believed that Africa was at the cusp of realising “the Africa we want” and urged key stakeholders to consolidate the successes by deepening intra-African trade and investments to bring prosperity to the continent and its people.

Source: GNA

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