Africa is currently the fastest growing continent in the world. More than two-thirds of the continent has registered overall improvement in the quality of economic governance in recent years, with increased capacity to deliver economic opportunity and basic services. Africa’s economic growth could not have happened without major improvement in economic governance.
However, for it to sustain its growth there is need for effective regulations to support growth, investment, innovation, market openness and uphold the rule of law. A poor regulatory environment undermines business competitiveness and citizens' trust in government, and it encourages corruption in public governance. They need to put their economies back on the path to sustainable growth, find ways to handle complex policy areas. Regulatory reform has already proved its worth, supporting structural reforms, entrepreneurship and market openness and the private sector has become the main engine of growth as the continent continues to improve its business climate.
Nevertheless, Africa’s inadequate infrastructure remains a major constraint to the continent’s economic growth and development. African currently invests just four per cent of its collective GDP in infrastructure, compared with China’s 14 per cent. “While sustainable infrastructure entails significant up-front investments, it will prove cost-effective in the longer term.”
The percentage of Africans living in cities already exceeds the percentage of people in the subcontinent who live in cities. By 2030, half of all Africans are expected to be living in cities.
The primary task of Africa is mainly to develop the economy and eradicate poverty. Without economic growth, there would be no material basis for a better life or better environment for the people. For example, Science and technology, hi-tech in particular, gives strong backing to sustainable development. We should focus on enhancing our capacity for sustainable development, further increase our input in science and technology, intensify our efforts in the development of environmental infrastructure, apply clean manufacturing technology, develop the industry of environmental protection and improve the resource and environment management system. We should also improve the mechanisms and the legal system through institutional reforms so as to facilitate the effective implementation of sustainable development strategies.
I therefore avail myself of this opportunity to express the AUC’s readiness to join efforts with you in developing a mechanism that will promote economic growth and investments in Africa. I encourage all investors, both small and large businesses, to make full use of this event and it is my hope that the Forum will conclude successfully by bringing together business and investment opportunities between Africa and the rest of the world.
H.E Dr. Anthony Mothae Maruping
Commissioner, Africa Union Commission