Equitable Trade Agreements, Regional Trade will drive investment in Africa – Minister Wolokollie addresses London Forum

(London 18/07/2023) Equitable Trade agreements, transparent governance, and regulations driving regional trade are among the policies critical to stimulating trade and investment across Africa.

Delivering the keynote address during the thematic discussion on investment and trade in Africa, at the African Achievers’ Awards Annual Lecture in London, United Kingdom, Deputy Finance Minister for Fiscal Affairs, Hon. Samora P.Z. Wolokolie, advanced strategies and partnerships to ensure the benefits of Africa’s vast natural resources for all. 

He identified robust infrastructure that will connect the economies of Africa and facilitate regional trade; heralding the African Continental Free Trade Area (AFCFTA) as a vehicle to foster economic integration while enhancing Africa’s competitiveness on the global stage.

The engine of the African economies will be led by qualified and trained manpower.

 He earmarked education and skills training for the youth of the continent: to produce the expertise required for the rapidly changing global economy.

Minister Wolokolie insists that the regulatory framework is also critical for attracting Foreign and Direct investment.

“African Governments can create an enabling environment for FDI by implementing transparent regulations, ensuring the rule of law, and providing incentives for investors.” He noted.

He advanced public-private partnerships as another dynamic to accelerating economic transformation.

He pointed to renewable energy, agriculture, healthcare as well as technology.

He recounted that Liberia is making the shift to boost local manufacturing built on policies to attract Foreign and Direct Investment.

‘Within the confines of the law, investors are given well-structured tax waivers to assist businesses. These incentives are now transitioning Liberia from being mostly reliant on imports to a nation with the rising tide of domestic manufacturing.’

These policies, he continues, are witnessing the launching of a steel manufacturing plant, and soap and cement factories amongst others.

He reminded the forum that it remains a top priority of the Government of Liberia to attract investors and to provide the necessary framework to foster growth and economic development.

Unlocking the enormous investment prospect of the African continent requires a wide range of policies. ‘Commitment to sustainable business practice; a responsible corporate behaviour, ethical supply chain; indicating that environmental stewardship should be integral to every business operating in Africa.

By adopting sustainable practices, businesses can contribute to the continent’s development while safeguarding the environment and promoting social well-being.

He admonished the organizers to foster collaboration between businesses and academia; also reaching out to partners beyond the content.

Collaborations between governments in Europe and Africa will lead to mutually beneficial outcomes towards knowledge exchange, technology transfer, and innovative solutions to global challenges.

The path to economic prosperity will also rely on academia-leveraging research to consolidate innovation.

 He believes businesses can position their resources and networks to cushion African entrepreneurs, highlighting sustainable projects; thereby producing shared value.

‘A prosperous and sustainable future for Africa means economic growth that benefits all citizens, reduced poverty and inequality, improved health care and education, and a thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem.’

He recommends achieving these broad themes will require a clear road map. To this end, he stresses, it’s essential to maintain a long-term perspective around sustainability, inclusivity and shared prosperity.

And these will be built upon the core issues of equitable trade agreements; fair investment practices; and a transparent governance system that promotes trust and confidence among all stakeholders.

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