Egypt, Africa Investment Forum
Egypt will host Africa 2016, the first international
business and investment forum of its kind. This is an Africa to Africa
investment forum aimed at strengthening business ties within Africa, both at a
business and presidential level.

The Forum will be opened by the President of Egypt, H.E.
Abdel Fateh #El-Sisi, and a number of African Heads of State are also expected
at the forum. Last June, in Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt, three African regional
economic communities, #COMESA, #SADC and the #EAC signed a tripartite agreement
creating the biggest free trade area on the continent. The Africa 2016 Forum
aims to reflect on the African opportunity, as well as putting to practice the
African integration story.

The Forum was initiated – and is spearheaded by

the Egyptian
Agency of Partnership for Development (#EAPD), the development arm of the
Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Ambassador Dr. Hazem Fahmy, the Secretary General
of the EAPD, is confident that the Forum will help drive the business agenda:
“We are launching what we feel will become an important event to help
drive more intra-African investment and trade. Egypt is an important partner.
We have a number of established groups that have already successfully invested
in East and Southern Africa. A number of Egyptian companies in the
pharmaceutical and ICT industries can offer expertise and solutions that can be
replicated throughout our beloved continent. We also have the needed
infrastructure to support them. Lastly, our strategic relationship with a
number of countries in the Gulf can help other African countries access
international capital. The Africa 2016 Forum will help us better understand the
African opportunity and will help ensure that policy makers start putting the
mechanics in place to make it easier for investors to access our markets.”

This was a sentiment that was also expressed by Heba Salama,
who heads COMESA’s Regional Investment Agency: “The aim of the Forum, as
well as discussing some of the most pressing issues in Africa today, is to
encourage as much B2B interaction. We know that Africa offers the highest rate
of return of any region in the world. However, too often, the African private
sector is not taking advantage of this opportunity outside of their borders. We
aim to change this.”

The programme will have a big focus on boosting intra-Africa
trade and investment by developing new and strategic public and private sector
alliances. The organizers expect 1,000 delegates to attend the Forum.

Egypt is becoming an attractive regional gateway for
international businesses wanting to access large African markets and for the
private sector looking for growth partners. A number of Egyptian conglomerates
have already invested in a number of African countries in infrastructure,
mining, telecoms, manufacturing, finance, and other important economic sectors.
And some Egyptian investment banks have in the past year facilitated
investments from the Middle East into the region.

Sitting at the crossroads of Europe, the Gulf, Asia, and
Africa, Egypt is not only focusing on building on its existing relationships
with its traditional neighbors but also strengthening its engagement with
partners within Africa.

“Last year, following our Egypt the Future conference,
we managed to secure billions of dollars of commitments and investment.
Recently, another investor from the Gulf also announced a multi-billion dollar
real estate investment project in the country. The opportunity is very much
alive, as much in Egypt as in the rest of Africa, and the time is now,”
according to Ashraf Salman, Minister of Investment for Egypt.

The Bretton Woods institutions have forecast economic growth
figures for Egypt of around 4 percent over the next two years. This growth, characterised
by renewed investments by several multinational companies across various
sectors- from oil (BP has invested in $12-billion in a new project) to
beverages (Coca-Cola has made a commitment to spend $500m in Egypt within the
next three years) and agribusiness, infrastructure materials and
pharmaceuticals, coupled with the new political dispensation, clearly
demonstrate that Egypt is on the road of transformational change.

The new Tripartite Free Trade Area (#TFTA) will lead to the
creation of a “borderless economy” that would rank 13th in the world
in terms of GDP. It presents an important opportunity not only to harmonise
regulations but also to enable deep integration amongst African economies, with
a focus on boosting intra-African trade and implementing a number of action
plans that relate to investment, trade, infrastructure, industrialisation,
productive capacity and trade facilitation.

The structure and format of the forum has been specifically
designed to provide opportunities to meet face-to-face with high profile
government and business decision-makers. There will also be unrivalled access
to high level Egyptian policy makers who will be able to provide first hand
insights into opportunities and projects in the country.

Investment promotion agencies from all over Africa will also
be showcasing both public and private investment opportunities and projects
that are seeking partners. Africa 2016 will bring such partners to the table.

“Europe was united through economic
collaboration,” added Ambassador Fahmy, “and by creating a
competitive edge in strategic sectors, primarily in steel and coal. We as
Africans need to get together and collaborate strategically, taking advantage
of the huge wealth we have beneath the earth and with our young population and
dynamic economies.”


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