We are delighted to host, once again, the business and investment community, at the Africa 2017 Forum to help accelerate investment into the continent. Building on the success of last year’s landmark first edition, Africa 2017 Forum will act as the gateway for enhanced cross-border private sector investment and cooperation.
The landmark tripartite agreement between COMESA, SADC and the EAC, which was launched in Sharm el Sheikh in June 2015, created the largest trading bloc in Africa, with 26 countries, a combined GDP nearing $1.2 trillion, and a market of close to 620 million consumers.
The comprehensive reforms adopted by African governments let to improvement in economic conditions across the continent, which ultimately resulted in some notable changes in the structure of many African economies and societies. Africa accounted for 30% of all global improvements in business and regulatory reforms in 2016. Growth has proved strong and resilient despite a challenging global economic environment. The GDP growth rate, across all of Africa, is predicted to rise to 4.3% in 2018. In 2016, 12 African countries had growth rates in excess of 5%, half of these with growth rates 7% and above. The African economies are outperforming the global average and most other emerging markets.
The increasing trends of urbanization and an expanding middle class are driving up demand for a broader range of services, as well as helping to make African economies more complex and diversified. For Africa to utilize its huge untapped resources and growth potential to become a driver of global growth and rebalancing. Private sector needs the right legal framework and incentives to encourage them to invest and, together with our African partners, we are exactly working on these issues.
There is still much to do. Intra-African trade and investment lag behind other regions whilst growth rates have not translated into shared wealth. Harnessing the potential of Africa’s young talent pool and create the enabling environment for greater private sector participation are key to our shared goals of economic growth and prosperity.
Egypt recently launched the new investment law, which is a cornerstone of Egypt’s economic reform agenda. Moreover we increased our public investment spending by 61% in 2016, allocating capital for key infrastructure and energy projects across the country. Such efforts go hand-in-hand with our commitment to serve as a strategic gateway for Africa and the world.
We invite you to take part in our growth story and invest in the unmatched potentials our continent as to offer.
Dr. Sahar Nasr
Minister of Investment and International Cooperation