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Monday, 07 March 2016

Africa Launches Largest Trading Block with 620 Million Consumers

In Egypt more than 1,500 public and private business delegates and state leaders agreed on 20-21 February to mobilise massive investments for the implementation of Africa’s largest trading bloc which was created last year by 26 African countries with a total of 620 million consumers and a combined Gross Domestic Product (GDP) nearing 1,2 trillion dollars. The agreement crowned the “Africa 2016” investment forum held in the Egyptian Red Sea resort Sharm El Sheikh with the participation of business leaders together with government officials and heads of international organisations to discuss trade and investment as engines of progress. African heads of state and government from Ethiopia, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Nigeria, Sudan and Togo took part in the forum. No official figures relating to the amount of these investments have been released. “They (the private business sector) are ready to invest. Africa is the continent of the future, this is clear. However, there are huge hurdles that have been ‘scaring’ the big business pundits,” an Egyptian diplomat commented to IPS on condition of anonymity. “African governments must make titanic efforts to ensure the right atmosphere needed to attract investors; adopt the necessary legislative measures to facilitate business activities; combat rampant corruption and eliminate bureaucratic obstacles; reform their financial systems to facilitate re-exporting capitals and benefits… not to mention democratic governance and preventing and ending so many armed conflicts…”

Source: Inter Press Service