The forum noted that Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) remains essential for Africa’s industrialization. Nigeria and other African countries would need to explore new approaches by ensuring that the business environment is predictable and stable if they will mobilise investment needed for their manufacturing and industry-related sectors.
This was a key conclusion of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), during the high-level session of the 2018 World Investment Forum jointly organized by the African Union (AU), the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and UNIDO.
The forum noted that Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) remains essential for Africa’s industrialization, as it brings improved know-how, modern technology, and access to international markets.
The forum however argued that such investment needs to be targeted and complemented by tailored strategies and policies to lead to inclusive and sustainable industrial development (ISID).
Indeed, members of the private sector as well as envoys of the United States and United Kingdom had echoed this assertion during the investment conference organised by the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) in Lagos, recently.
According to the stakeholders, while it is necessary for government’s policies to be directed at sectors that create jobs, policies should be evaluated for efficiency and to ensure that they are achieving the set objectives.
For instance, the Deputy High Commissioner, British High Commission, Ms Laure Beaufils said: “What investors are looking at is predictability in decision making and application of regulation and that the rule of law was systematically applied. They are watching keenly what is happening in Nigeria going forward.
“These are issues that investors look at; they are interested in regulations, policies and strategies and they look at signals from the regulators.
Director General of UNIDO, Li Yong also urged stakeholders to take advantage of opportunities and platforms presented throughout the UN’s 2030 agenda, the AU’s Agenda 2063, the AFCFTA and the Third Industrial Development Decade for Africa (IDDA III).
“To mobilize investment, you need to understand what investors want,” said Clare Akamanzi, Chief Executive Officer of the Rwanda Development Board.
“Investors want speed and stability, in an economy that is predictable and stable, both in terms of legal framework and economic growth. Sustainability and long-term value are of great importance for them to bet on your economy.”
“Growth needs both local and foreign companies; therefore follow the example of attractive countries and appeal to national and international investors,” added Director for Sustainable Economic Development at the Netherlands’ Ministry of Foreign Affairs Hans Docter.
“You also need more concrete incentives, such as business parks and entrepreneurship programmes to spur growth and create more cooperation opportunities.”
The potential of the recently-established African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) was also explored during the Forum; UNCTAD Secretary-General Mukhisa Kituyi noted: “Industrialization requires strategic partnerships that must combine political leadership and a framework and strategies to mobilize competencies.”