By Judith Ugwumadu | 21 July 2014
United Nations officials have called for increased public-private funding to boost Africa’s prospects in agriculture, industrialisation and infrastructure development.
At a debate on the promotion of investment in Africa, John Ashe, president of the UN general assembly said: ‘Africa needs to bridge a huge financing gap. Innovative financing must come within the continent and from greater private sector investment, as well as public-private collaborations.’
He highlighted that there had been considerable investment in many African countries over the past decade, including those with the highest growth rates and foreign direct investment (FDI) towards the continent had steadily increased since 2000.
But much of this investment went towards resource extraction and exports, which failed to result in the enhancement of productive capacity or job creation in African nations. He also said that revenues earning from Africa’s resources had not been shared fairly or used to boost industrialisation and development programmes.
UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon told the meeting that his travels in Africa had given him a first-hand look at the dynamism and promise of the continent.
The UN estimates that Africa’s overall growth will exceed 5% in 2015, driven by domestic and solid commodity prices.
‘But this positive performance must not let us become complacent,’ Ban said, adding that serious obstacles still existed.
He said that to end extreme poverty and provide inclusive prosperity, Africa needs enabling environments that promote investment and reduce risk.
‘Investment is essential, and when it is the right investment, it can be effective, benefiting people, businesses and governments alike,’ he said.