Nigerian Leaders, Others Discuss African Investment Opportunities at China Summit

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Crusoe Osagie

The promotion of investment cooperation in Africa was the topic of a high-level forum on investment in Africa held in Xiamen on the sidelines of the 2016 China International Fair for Investment and Trade.

Nigerian participants along with others across the continent recognised the Programmes for Country Partnership, which the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) is currently implementing in Ethiopia and Senegal, as a successful assistance model. Each programme is a multi-stakeholder partnership which aims to increase large-scale public and private investment in order to accelerate national industrial development agendas.

Co-organised by UNIDO, the Ministry of Commerce and the Fujian Provincial Government of China, the forum brought together senior decision-makers from China, Ethiopia, Nigeria and Senegal, as well as representatives from the private sector, academia and other international agencies.

Participants highlighted the significant contribution of industry to job creation and poverty eradication, calling it “a motor for overall growth and prosperity”, and for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals in Africa and globally.

They stressed that governments need to create an enabling environment for investors, and that localisation strategies and environmental protection need to be highlighted. The need to increase investment in high-value added activities and sectors in order to provide opportunities for social inclusion was also emphasised. Such investments support gender equality, empower women and girls, and create decent employment for young people. This in turn will contribute to long-term growth and structural change in Africa.

The forum was organised in support of the recently adopted United Nations General Assembly resolution on the Third Industrial Development Decade for Africa, and the recently endorsed G20 Initiative on Supporting Industrialisation in Africa and Least Developed Countries.

Speaking at the event, LI Yong, the Director General of UNIDO, stressed that the Organisation, which is mandated to promote and accelerate inclusive and sustainable industrial development, has for many years been implementing technical cooperation projects and promoting investment across Africa. UNIDO’s flagship Programmes for Country Partnership have already achieved impressive results since their launch in 2014, said Li.

At the event, UNIDO also presented a new report on growth identification and facilitation for industrial upgrading and diversification, prepared in collaboration with the National School of Development at Peking University.

The report, written by a team led by former World Bank Chief Economist, Professor Justin Lin, examines Senegal’s key sectors and provides recommendations for achieving “quick wins” based on international market opportunities. It is a key component of UNIDO’s Programme for Country Partnership for Senegal.

As a follow-up to the event in Xiamen, two upcoming events will also provide platforms to present specific investment opportunities in Africa. From 5 to 7 October, the International Agro-Industry Investment Forum will be held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and from 14 to 15 November, Dakar, Senegal, will host UNIDO’s fifth Inclusive and Sustainable Industrial Development Forum.

During the Xiamen Fair an exhibition on UNIDO-China cooperation was also held to mark the Organisation’s 50th anniversary.