ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (PANA)–The African Union (AU) recently announced plans to create an investment bank to finance private sector developments within the continent, as part of efforts to put the continent on a sound growth path towards its industrialization.
AU Commissioner for Economic Affairs Maxwell Mkwezalamba said talks on the formation of the continental development bank were underway to give the continent’s investors access to much-needed capital to finance development initiatives. The plans were made public Jan. 22.
“Africa’s industrialization dream would be unthinkable in the absence of the private sector.” Mr. Mkwezalamba said the opening session of the AU-sanctioned Africa Private Sector Forum, convened to explore continental initiatives to industrialize Africa.
Africa’s leading business minds, including bankers, financiers, mobile phone company chiefs, airline executives and security experts, are gathered at the AU hub to discuss available investment opportunities in Africa.
The forum also aims to sensitize the African populace to anti-graft efforts needed to push the industrialization process, in addition to seeking to put the economic integration of Africa on a fast track while creating working relationships with Africa’s private sector.
Ethiopia’s Industry Minister Tadesse Haile said the private sector was Africa’s only hope for industrialization because of growing budget shortfalls most African states face, leaving little or no funds for extra investments in roads, electricity and education.
He said Africa’s private sector, in its current form, is “weak and fragmented” and unable to compete.