via: The Ghanaian Times
About 600 participants, including some heads of state from West Africa and the Commonwealth, as well as investors from all over the world, will today throng the Accra International Conference Centre for the Africa Investment Forum 2012, to exchange notes on the opportunity to access the growing regional market in a continent of one billion people.
The forum will bring together business and government leaders from Africa, Europe, North America and Asia-Pacific, to work towards this goal.
Speakers will include heads of government, ministers and senior officials, as well as chairpersons and chief executives of businesses, investment funds and other industries.
The forum, expected to be opened by President John Evans Atta Mills, will showcase the best investment opportunities that Africa and the ECOWAS region have to offer.
It presents a platform for investors and project partners to explore and discuss investment opportunities with ECOWAS heads of state.
The forum will also offer networking opportunities and the space to discuss prospects in key sectors like agriculture, infrastructure, banking and financial services, tourism, manufacturing, energy, oil and gas.
Under the theme, ‘Partnering with ECOWAS to accelerate investment’ the two-day high-profile event is expected to provide an unprecedented opportunity for senior policy-makers, corporate executives, investors and investment promotion agencies to meet and interact through a series of sessions, networking and social events.
The Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC), in collaboration with the Commonwealth Business Council (CBC), is hosting the forum, which is a build on the last forum held in Accra in 2010.
Among others, the forum will feature a project portfolio of investment proposals that are looking for funding, equity or business partners in the region. The Project Exchange Centre will enable participants to meet with potential investors, investment bankers, and potential knowledge partners to present their projects.
According to the programme, project summaries will be available in advance to interested investors and partners, and project holders will be available for one-to-one meetings. Projects will be organized by country and sector and include business plans with identified requirements in terms of investment required, technical and knowledge based requirements.
“For potential investors, this is an opportunity to establish strong partnerships and explore investment opportunities in key sectors such as ICT, Financial services, tourism, infrastructure, agriculture and manufacturing and the environment,” says George Aboagye, Chief Executive Officer of GIPC.
Commenting ahead of the event, President J.E.A Mills said Africa and its regions are showing strong economic growth with many countries achieving more than five per cent per annum and a growing middle-class with rising purchasing power, adding that “the time is now ripe build a bigger African internal market driven by new investment”.
According to McKinsey, a global business advisor, Africa in 2020 would have a collective GDP of $2.6 trillion and consumer spending power of $1.4 trillion, adding, the opportunity this represents for international investors is immense.
“CBC is determined to bring together the public and private sector in order to enable Africa capitalizes on this potential.
“With the increasing volatility of the Western Markets, Africa is now increasing becoming a preferred investment destination of choice. A catalyst for this has also been the progress made towards regional integration to create larger markets, enhanced competitiveness and improving infrastructure, therefore it follow that this AIF will focus on partnerships with ECOWAS to mobilize investment,” he added.
Minister for Trade and Industry, Hannah Tetteh, said her ministry’s vision is to establish Ghana as a major manufacturing, value-added, financial and commercial hub in West Africa by 2015,” pointing out that “we are developing a vibrant, technology-driven, liberalized and competitive trade and industrial sector that significantly contributes to economic growth and employment creation”.
“We are working closely with our ECOWAS neighbours to bolster regional integration and enable investors to access the markets of North, West and Central Africa from Ghana. We have projects ready for investments that are designed to push this process forward, “he added.
For GIPC Chairman, Ishmael Yamson, the forum will promote investment in Ghana and across the ECOWAS region and will contribute to the creation of jobs and prosperity for a vibrant and growing part of Africa, “rich with potential that we are only just beginning to access”.
He added: “2012 will be the year where we capitalize on this achievement and the Africa, Investment Forum is the ideal opportunity to showcase the fantastic prospect that Ghana and ECOWAS represents for anyone wishing to do business here.”