WEF Platform for Africa’s Economic Growth

Johannesburg ‑ Hosting of the 23rd World Economic Forum (WEF) in South Africa will expose international investors and business community to abundant investment opportunities in Africa, a senior South Africa economic expert has said.
In an interview with The Southern Times last Tuesday, Dr Oren Dayan of School of Economic and Business Sciences at Wits University said the “forum is extremely important to Africa”.
With a theme: “Delivering on Africa’s Promise” the forum will be held in Cape Town, South Africa from May 8-10, 2013. It will be held under three key sub-themes, “Accelerating Economic Diversification”, “Boosting Strategic Infrastructure” and “Unlocking Africa’s Talent”.
“It is a great opportunity to let investors and governments around the world to be exposed to the phenomenal growth of Africa and the opportunities in Africa,” Dayan told The Southern Times in Johannesburg.
It will also help South Africa to influence the international economics, he added.
The continent is seeing impressive developments, economic growth, unity and political stability. South Africa is leading Africa flagship by representing the continent at several international platforms witnessed with its recent involvement and key role in BRICS grouping.
“The involvement of South Africa in global economic trends and even further, hosting the WEF bring South Africa closer to a leader position,” Dayan.
WEF says the forum will provide an important platform for regional and global leaders from business and government to deepen the continent’s integration agenda and renew commitment to a sustainable path of growth and development.
“The involvement from African governments will be also a vital part in achieving mutual economic growth.”
With an expected annual growth of 5 percent in 2012-2013, sub-Saharan Africa continues its transformative journey from a developing continent to a hub of global growth but it still faces a number of challenges that are delaying its full growth.
The main challenges are political stability and corruption, Dayan said. “These two factors are increasing the country risk of African countries,” he added.
“Africa governments should address these issues seriously, while setting examples to the public and demonstrating real atmosphere change in the political environment that we have been exposed to up to now.”
According to WEF, Africa’s leaders need to strengthen the continent’s competitiveness, foster inclusive growth and build resilience to ensure economic grow and development.
“African governments have a lot to do,” Dayan said. “This phrase of economic growth requires a lot of hard work and mainly commitment.”
Governments are doing a lot to lure international and regional investors including easing their legislations to become investor friendly.
Dayan said yet more needs to be done to attract investors, especially at regional integration level. Africa needs investors who can invest at cross-border level and this can be facilitated by not only policies but also infrastructure.
“Africa governments should improve on infrastructure such as transport, technology and most important, liberalisation of existing trade agreements.”
During the previous WEF in Switzerland, South Africa President Jacob Zuma invited world's top economies and business to come and invest in African infrastructure development.
In addition to integrative laws and infrastructure, Dayan urged Africa countries to be bonded in unity. Strengthened relationships among African countries significantly contribute towards regional and global trade and economic stability, he said.
He urged Africa governments to boost domestic revenues to balance liberalisation of existing trades.

May 2013
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