AFRICA 2016, Business for Africa, Egypt and the World Forum has wrapped up.

AFRICA 2016, Business for Africa, Egypt and the World Forum has wrapped up.

“My country is committed to Africa and will spare no efforts to extend and strengthen ties and integration across all African countries in order to help it drive its economic and social development” By Abdel Fattah El Sisi, President of the Arab Republic of Egypt.

OPENING CEREMONYOpening Ceremony.

20-21 February 2016 in Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt will be remembered as a great rendez-vous for boosting intra-African business within Africa countries. As one of African proverb inspires, “if you want to go fast, run alone but you will not get far, but if you want to get far go in group”. This is clearly the key address from most of speakers and round table meetings panelists and is conducive to intensifying intra African FDIs: “Let us think big, act big and deliver big”. The message clear and is based on the figures Africa has so far recorded. Over the past few years, African economies have grown at rates averaging 5% per year and are projected to continue to grow. In 2014, Africa’s GDP broke through the $US 2.5 trillion mark and its population stood at a little over 1 billion people. In 2013, in terms of trade, African exports to the world reached nearly $US 600 billion while imports totaled $US 605 billion. It is adamantly believed that greater business impact will follow in the future based on pledges from Government officials, policy makers, financial institutions, corporate organizations and investors who were present to the Forum.

Translating into adding synergy, the AFRICA 2016 Forum has reached another milestone illustrating that the Government of Egypt together with other African countries have been exerting efforts to support and enhance economic, political and cultural integration in the continent, enacting policies to deepen free trade among African countries, upgrade infrastructure and industrial development, and attract foreign investment. This has been demonstrated through various initiatives including series of bilateral and multilateral free trade agreements. The Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA) that is composed by the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), the East African Community (EAC) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) is a strategic trade agreement that was launched via the June 2015 Sharm el Sheikh Declaration, creating the largest market space in Africa. It is expected to boost intra-African trade from 12% up to 30%. Among others, as part of the 26 TFTA member countries, equivalent to 670 million consumers, Burundi is set to gain from the TFTA through its continued efforts to improving business climate, attracting investment and promoting export.

During a roundtable meeting called for African Investment Promotion Agencies participating at Africa 2016 Business Forum, H.E. Ashraf SALMAN, the Egyptian Minister of Investment put an emphasis in unleashing intra-African trade potential: “The significant challenge to TFTA is to develop infrastructure so as to boost Economic Development through PPP models implicating using less the Government money. On investment perspective, for a strong, competitive emerging African Economy, it is time to promote and strengthen intra-Africa FDIs within the whole continent. It is crucial to customize and Africanize regulations and trade related rules. It is not about Egypt or South Africa; it is about joining hands and working all together to share opportunities”.

1.	Minister and envoy of Burundi President at Africa 2016 visiting the API boothMinister and envoy of Burundi President at Africa 2016 visiting the API booth

It is worth reminding that Burundi Investment Promotion Authority (API) have been closely working with its Egyptian counterpart, the General Authority for Investment and Free Zones (GAFI) which is an affiliate of the Ministry of Investment and the principal Government body regulating and facilitating investment in Egypt. Through various promotional programs, API have benefitted much from technical support and trainings organized by GAFI through COMESA Regional Investment Agency headquartered in Cairo, with a clear mandate of promoting the whole region as an attractive investment destination.