The president of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Akinwumi Adesina, said on Wednesday that Africa must stop being a basket case for aid and a museum of poverty.
Speaking at the opening of the African Investment Forum in Johannesburg, Adesina said that countries in the African continent should now take their rightful place in the world to be seen as investment destinations
"We are not going to be the museum of poverty in the world. We will be a destination of investment. No country has developed by aid, but countries develop by the discipline of their investment. For too long, Africa has been seen as a development destination. I want Africa to be an investment destination," Adesina said.
"The role of leadership is very important. presidents are now coming to the party. This says presidents are actually CEOs of their countries. We are not here to discuss aid. What we should do is to scale up, speed up, and synergise. We wouldn't be here without a vision."
The inaugural Africa Investment Forum, an initiative of the AfDB, will bring together project sponsors, pension funds, sovereign wealth funds, private investors, policy makers, private equity firms, and heads of government to raise capital to advance Africa’s economic transformation agenda.
Although brimming with investment opportunities, AfDB said there was an urgent need to bridge the gap between Africa's available capital and bankable projects. Africa's development needs are estimated to require between US $600-billion to US $700-billion per annum.
Alain Ebobisse, chief executive of Africa 50 Infrastructure Fund, decried the fact that Africa was still receiving less investment compared to other emerging economies in the world
"The African continent received US $8-billion compared to South America's plus or minus US $40-billion in investment. We must close that gap," Ebobisse said.
Benedict Oramah, president of Africa Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), said Africa has to come together and address common problems and bring confidence in investors.
"The future of Africa will depend on the integration of the continent. Alone, we are weak. Together, we are strong," Oramah said.
Gauteng Premier David Makhura concurred with these sentiments, saying that Forum takes place at the most exciting times for the Gauteng province.
"It is time for Africa to transition from aid to development and from poverty to prosperity. As the Gauteng province, we have to ensure policy certainty in the African environment for investors. We have to improve the ease of doing business, the regulatory environment, and fix public institutions," Makhura said.