“See Our infrastructure Problems As Investment Opportunities” — Richard Sezibra urges US Firms — From Al-hassan Y. Babalwaiz, ANA North America EditorAfrica, Diplomatic Dispatch, News
Ministers and government officials from 15 African countries are pitching investment opportunities to American firms and government agencies looking to invest in infrastructure to drive growth and development on the continent.
About 400 delegates drawn from senior US and African private sector and government officials, key decision makers from leading US infrastructure companies, financial institutions, and international organizations, have been holding talks and networking for three days ( June 18-20), at the 5th US-Africa Infrastructure Conference, which is being organized by the Corporate Council on Africa (CCA) in Washington, DC.
According to the world Bank, “only one in three rural Africans has access to an all-season road; more than 20 percent of the population in Cameroon, Ghana, Mauritania, Niger, and Tanzania must travel more than two kilometers to their primary water supply; African consumers pay twice as much for basic services as people elsewhere in the world; and a monthly basket of prepaid mobile telephone services costs $12 in Africa but only $2 in South Asia.
“We see these as problems, yet we also see them as opportunities for American investors to take,” noted Richard Sezibra, Secretary General of the Eastern Africa Community in a key note address at the opening reception.
CCA President Stepen Hayes, reminded the gathering that “infrastructure is probably the single most important need for Africa to develop and there is no single country in Africa that is meeting its current power needs.”
Themed”Foundations for Economic Growth”, the conference will highlight investment opportunities in energy and renewables, transportation, water, ICT. Procurement options as well as traditional financing topics will also be discussed.
The event could not have come at the most crucial time. Africa needs $93 billion per year to build infrastructure to support its growth development. But increased efficiency could cut these needs by $17 billion dollars.
The conference will take a look at how to increase efficiency to reduce these needs.