CEE investors highlight business potential in Africa
Africa is a continent with huge potential. It has an average growth rate of 5.2 per cent per year, a young population of working age, an abundance of natural resources, and the drive to catch up with global development, according to the 5th European Economic Congress, which took place in Katowice, Poland from May 13– 15, 2013.
Some of Poland’s wealthiest entrepreneurs, such Jan Kulczyk whose Kulczyk Investments has on-going infrastructural and mining projects in Africa, took part in the conference, which focused on encouraging business relations between Central and Eastern Europe and Africa.
“We have reached a moment in which Africa does not need Europe, Europe needs Africa,” Kulczyk commented. “Other emerging economies such as China and Turkey have already understood Africa’s potential, and Europe should not miss the opportunity to work in Africa.”
European Economic Congress institutions, and major Polish companies, aim to promote investment in Africa, encouraging business executives not to miss the huge opportunity presented by Africa’s rapid development.
“Africa has now defined its priorities, we know how to find our partners, and we know how we want them to work with us,” Elham Mahmood Ahmed Ibrahim, Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy of the African Union, said at the conference.
“The opportunities are there for win-win cooperation, and we are doing a lot of business with European industries, Elham Mahmood Ahmed Ibrahim said. “Africa is looking for 37,300 km of modern highways, 30,200 of modern railways, the hydropower generation sector is planning a development of 62 GW, 16, 500 km for interconnecting power lines, and that is besides the agricultural sector and all other business.”
It is predicted that Africa will see a growth of 6 percent in 2014. The continent has a growing population, estimated to double – reaching 2 bln – by 2050, and a middle class of 256 mln estimated to grow to 600 mln by 2050.
The continent faces many challenges, the conference speakers emphasized, such as the lack of human resources, skills, institutions, and a lack of financial resources and insurance.
The speakers underlined that Europe has to realize that it is time to focus on Africa, to encourage trade, and remove blockages such as the European Agricultural Policy.
Central and Eastern Europe can have a say in Africa’s development, especially with regard to innovative technology, pharmaceuticals, innovative industry and services sectors.
The European Economic Congress was held in Katowice for the fifth time. The city is the capital of the Silesia, and Poland’s center for mining and heavy industry.
The event gathers public and private investors and promotes European and global agendas.