Saturday 15 May 2021
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Africa unsuccessful in creating investment opportunities

Senior Consultant at CITC-Investment and Trade in Mauritius, Dev Chamroo is deeply concerned about the lack of intra-Africa trade.
Chamroo said there is a serious problem when it comes to mobilizing domestic investments.
“There is a need for change, Africa has the capacity to do just that but we need someone to lead and create the scenario for investors.
It is time that the investment opportunities that are available in Africa be known to African investors, it is time to have a vehicle and agency that is going to promote African investment. It is important to create meeting and networking platforms for investors to come along” he said while speaking at the recently-concluded third SADC Industrialisation Week held under the theme ‘Promoting Infrastructure Development and Youth Empowerment for Sustainable Development’.
The event was held in preparation for the SADC Summit that Namibia will be hosting this year, from 17-18 August in Windhoek.
Chamroo further highlighted that it is unfortunate that there is a lack of intra-African investment and intra-Regional investment taking place on the continent.
“These industrialisation weeks of SADC are a platform for the policy makers to come and explain why this is the case, I have attended several of these meetings and the results never show that we have generated so much of an investment.
There must be a rethinking that has to go with it because the main problem that we have in Africa is that nobody knows of the available opportunities.
Every country thinks they outshine the other and that their investment opportunities are known to everybody but those who travel overseas know that Africa is not very well known in other markets.
Besides the image deficit of Africa in the eyes of international investments, we are not promoting nor are we making the investment opportunities visible that we have internally.
There is no platform nor is there any information trade system that does this,” he explained.
Chamroo noted that although every African country has its own trade and investment policy that comes with its own investment regulations, no one knows of them because there is no single platform available that can give potential investors a dash board of investments and the legal frameworks that are available.
With many African investors not having the level of sophistication when it comes to investigations similar to that of multinationals, Chamroo noted that potential investors will look elsewhere in countries that have a dedicated strategy that tells its investors to look at their investment opportunities.
“We know that the racks do a lot of talking, the civil servants will participate in great discussions they know everything but people do not know how to implement them.
I have never heard of any African government recognising and awarding an African investor. There is an institutional disconnect at the policy level and the policy master says that we must work on that” he highlighted.
Sharing a practical experience of a country like Mauritius, Chamroo noted that in 2001 when he presented a document of developing an African strategy to the Mauritian government, he was immediately summoned by the Minister of Industry who dismissed the document by stating that they paid him to bring investors into this country and it was a crime that he had written a paper to promote investment in Africa.
“Ten years later when we realised that we could not grow organically in all the industries in which we had built up capacity that is when we then looked at the constrains and ten years after I had written the document they said it was now time that we started looking at Africa for investments.
And today Mauritius is an emerging investor in Africa, in the field of finance, tourism, manufacturing and agriculture as far as from Côte d’Ivoire all the way down.
We realised investing in Africa was out only mode of survival.
Governments need to realise that in order for us to expand on opportunities, there is a need for action.
Mauritius at present has invested in more than 40 African countries. We have developed our financial services sector that acts as a bridge from capital exporting countries to capital acquiring and this is where the global business platform of Mauritius has come in and we are now facilitating investment in Africa from international investors” Chamroo explained.
The SADC Industrialisation Week since its inception three years ago, is said to have been aimed at intensifying and creating a platform of engagement with the private sector in an effort to accelerate the implementation of the SADC Industrialization Strategy and Roadmap 2015 to 2063, which was approved by the SADC Summit of Heads of State and Government in 2015.
This year the SADC Industrialization Week saw 450 delegates attending and 150 exhibitors from the SADC member states compared to the past two years.
The three day engagement brought forth an array of parallel sessions with one of them having been centred on the SADC Investment Policy Framework that aims to facilitate regional co-ordination and exploit economies of scale in improving investment frameworks and policies across SADC member states.
With investment figures in North Africa having gone down by 4 percent, Central Africa by 22 percent, West Africa by 11 percent, East Africa by 3 percent and Southern Africa by 66 percent;  Chamroo noted that this proves that there is no growth and diversification happening in individual African countries.

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