CAIRO, December 12, 2018 /PRNewswire/ --
Following the successful implementation of its economic reform programme, Egypt signed agreements worth $1.9 billion on the side-lines of the Africa 2018 Forum in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt. This is in addition to a number of other key agreements worth $1.6 billion that were signed by participants at the Forum. The agreements include strategic partnerships to invest in Egypt's infrastructure, Information Technology, renewable energy, and to foster entrepreneurship and private sector development in the country.
The Forum was attended by a number of government leaders, including the Presidents of Sierra Leone, Niger, Madagascar, and the Republic of Rwanda, as well as high level officials from across the continent, business leaders, and participants from over 55 countries.
During the Forum, President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi announced key efforts, led by Egypt, to boost entrepreneurship and regional integration in Africa. This included the establishment of the first regional entrepreneurship hub in Egypt, as well as the acceleration of establishing the Cairo - Cape Town highway. Furthermore, President Sisi also announced an initiative aimed to train 10,000 young Africans as software and game developers over the next three years.
The President also highlighted the importance of investing in human capital through providing quality healthcare and education services to equip Africa's youth with the tools needed to compete in the global job market.
Egypt is preparing to chair the African Union next year, and the country's President reinforced the importance of fostering pan-African trade and investment, through policies that lead to open borders, supporting industrial development, as well as infrastructure projects that facilitate the movement of goods and people. Egypt's existing investments in Africa already surpass $10 billion, while African investments into Egypt, Africa's largest economy, reached $2.8 billion.
"The high level presence and active participation at the Africa 2018 Forum reaffirmed Africa's position as a top investment destination in the world, and Egypt as the gateway to Africa," said Dr. Sahar Nasr, Minister of Investment and International Cooperation.
Several panel discussions during African 2018 Forum focused on the growth of technology and innovation, which can create jobs and deliver new solutions that fill unmet needs within the African communities, who share many challenges such as access to finance, food security, quality health and education. The subject was discussed at length by founders of African start-ups in the fintech, agri-tech, e-health and e-learning fields, highlighting the opportunity for African youth to catch up and be a part of these technological movements.
Women empowering Africa was also an important theme at the Forum, and First Ladies of Niger and Nigeria were among the speakers who highlighted the great benefits communities enjoy when women are empowered, as well as the current challenges facing women in office and in business. According to a recent McKinsey study, companies with the greatest proportion of women on their executive committees earned a return on equity 47% higher than those with no female executive members.
Several international financial institutions were represented at the Forum, through key figures such as Sir Suma Chakrabarti, President of The European Bank for Reconstruction, Philippe Le Hourerou, CEO of the IFC, and Akinwumi Adesina, President of African Development Bank. They emphasized the importance of working together with governments to foster private sector development. These experts also delved into the case study of Egypt's liberation of its energy sector through bold legislative reform that lead to massive investments in the renewable energy sector. Egypt today has the largest wind farm in the Middle East and is currently establishing 11 solar panel plants in the South, which will make it the largest producer of solar power in the world.
This was the third edition of the Africa Forum.
About The Ministry of Investment and International Cooperation
The Ministry of Investment and International Cooperation is the ministry in charge of economic cooperation and development between the Arab Republic of Egypt and the Arab States, foreign countries, and international and regional organizations. It also aids in economic and social development within Egypt.
SOURCE General Authority for Investment and Free Zones