Africa is on the move – President Ramaphosa

President Cyril Ramaphosa has reaffirmed South Africa’s support for Canadian companies wishing to trade, invest and do business on the African continent for mutual growth and development.
The President said South Africa is Africa’s most industrialised economy with a well-regulated banking and financial system, developed infrastructure, sound legal and regulatory frameworks, and strong linkages into both the global and continental economies.
“South Africa stands ready to support Canadian companies wishing to trade, invest and do business on the African continent. This is the time to work together, as we did when we confronted the deadly COVID-19 pandemic, to realise the many opportunities that exist for mutual growth and development,” the President said.
The President was delivering a pre-recorded message at the Africa Accelerating 2022 Conference on deepening trade and investment between Africa and Canada.
The annual three-day summit brings together high-level leaders every October at venues in Canada and on the African continent, broadcast live to thousands of delegates in addition to in-person attendees.
President Ramaphosa said the global fight against COVID-19 demonstrated both the need for and the value of solidarity, collaboration and cooperation.
He said African countries were united around a common continental response that resulted in unprecedented initiatives to ensure access to lifesaving medical supplies, equipment and vaccines.
Working with partners across the globe, including Canada, the President said that African continent worked in unison to save lives and safeguard livelihoods.
“With the pandemic in abeyance, our focus now is on advancing shared prosperity through bilateral trade and investment. Africa is committed to work together to advance its own development and meet the needs of its people,” he said.
President Ramaphosa emphasised that the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is a critical part of efforts to raise Africa’s growth, and is one of the 15 flagship projects of the African Union’s Agenda 2063.
He noted that there has been important progress towards the operationalisation of the African Continental Free Trade Area.
The Pan-African Payment and Settlement System was launched in January and has been successfully piloted in the West African Monetary Zone.
The President said work is underway to dismantle intra-African trade tariff barriers as well as non-tariff barriers that hinder market access.
The World Bank and AfCFTA Secretariat estimate that if fully implemented, the Continental Free Trade Area could increase Africa’s exports to the rest of the world by 32 percent and more than double intra-African exports.
Canada is a longstanding development partner with Africa, joining the African Development Fund in 1973 and the African Development Bank in 1982.
“Canada has supported all capital increases and contributed regularly to the African Development Bank replenishments. This history, together with the strong trade and investment ties between Africa and Canada, provides a firm platform to expand cooperation and accelerate growth.
“As Africa pursues economic integration, the opportunities for Canadian investors and companies will steadily expand,” the President said.
As this conference demonstrates, the President said, there are many opportunities for Canadian companies in Africa beyond the extractives sector.
“On a continent where around 60 percent of arable land remains uncultivated, there is huge potential for climate smart agriculture and agro-processing.
“As continental supply chains become increasingly integrated, Africa’s manufacturing capacity will expand rapidly, presenting opportunities in areas like petrochemicals, pharmaceuticals, food and beverages, textiles, fabricated metals and many others,” he said.
The President added that this will drive infrastructure investment, not only in the roads, rail lines and ports that will handle the movement of goods and people, but in the energy and telecommunications networks needed to facilitate production and exchange.
President Ramaphosa wished the conference well in its deliberations saying he looks forward to the many new partnerships and ventures that are expected to emerge from the conference.

Source: South African Government News Agency