African business leaders explore prospects for building new economic partnerships

  • Prominent business leaders from Namibia, Zambia and Ethiopia share insights on plans to attract foreign investment, fill market gaps and expand infrastructure.

Dubai, UAE – Prominent business leaders representing various economic sectors in Namibia, Zambia and Ethiopia have shared their insights on new plans to attract foreign investment, fill market gaps and expand infrastructure in their respective countries.

Speaking today during a panel session at the Global Business Forum Africa 2021 in Dubai titled New Alliances, New Horizons, H.E Chileshe Kapwepwe, Secretary-General, Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), Zambia; Admassu Tadesse, President & Chief Executive Officer, Eastern and Southern African Trade and Development Bank (TDB), Ethiopia; and Nangula Nelulu Uaandja, Chairperson & Chief Executive Officer, Namibia Investment Promotion and Development Board (NIPDB), Namibia, discussed new ways to enhance African economies.

“Attracting foreign investment in Zambia is at the very top of our agenda. Foreign direct investment in Africa was recorded at $40 billion in 2020. We believe that by building strategic partnerships with key players in the African markets, we can build new opportunities to attract more foreign investors. Partnerships can help us transfer raw materials into finished goods, creating added value to the economy and enabling the Zambian business sector to trade its goods worldwide,” said H.E Chileshe Kapwepwe.

“Financial institutions in Africa are always looking to fund new megaprojects that will strengthen the economic structure. The implications of Covid-19 have built new norms for businesses around the world, and we have witnessed an enormous investment in sustainable finance, green bonds, and Covid bonds. Additionally, a huge boost to the health care sector, the bank is currently financing five hospitals compared to one in 2018. Covid-19 was indeed a wake-up call for us and led us to invest more in healthcare institutions. On the other hand, we have invested heavily in building the telecommunication infrastructure in Africa. We are currently financing fibre-optic cable projects that will provide a stable connection and help e-commerce grow. We believe that Africa has huge promising opportunities, and a bright future is waiting for us,” said Admassu Tadesse.

“Namibia is looking to build a dynamic economic structure focused on specific industries and 97 products. We are seeking to benefit from our strategic locations. The country is surrounded by three landlocked countries, which gives us a unique opportunity to be the commerce gate for three promising African markets. We believe that infrastructure has a vital role in attracting investments. Hence, we are working on several logistic projects that will enhance our position geoeconomically; building rails, ports, and airports are a priority for our economic plan,” commented Nangula Nelulu Uaandja.

All three speakers confirmed the need to build solid infrastructure across the African continent, stressing that it was the backbone of today’s economies. Building strategic partnerships is another key focus of public and private sector stakeholders across the continent as they look to unlock new trade and investment opportunities.

The speakers asserted that the African leaders should take control of the African public narrative, saying that Africa today is not like it used to be, with the continent boasting limitless business opportunities, a well-educated and trained workforce and abundant raw materials that can help build new horizons for the regional economy.

Held under the patronage of H.H Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, Dubai Chamber is organising GBF Africa 2021 – the sixth edition in the series – under the theme Transformation Through Trade. The two-day event is being hosted in partnership with Expo 2020 Dubai.