The “Africa 2018” forum, which concluded on Monday, announced seven important decisions at the end of the forum alongside the signing of 30 agreements in the fields of investment, entrepreneurship, financing for small and medium-sized enterprises, and infrastructure and technical cooperation agreements all totaling at US $3.5 billion.
Of the 30 agreements 19 were signed on the first day and 11 on the second day, most notable of which was a $1 billion agreement with the World Bank to support the private sector and a memorandum of understanding between Telecom Egypt and Liquid Telecom with an investment of $400 million.
The Suez Canal Economic Zone Authority signed four investment contracts, including a $ 1.25 billion agreement with Tahrir Petrochemical Company, and a concession for the design, construction, operation, and maintenance of a multi-purpose terminal at East Port Said Port.
It also signed agreements for the development of 10 square kilometer land area of the Economic Zone of the Suez Canal, and another contract for the storage of petrochemicals on an area of 11442 square meters in West Port Said.
Regarding the Kitchener Bank, three agreements were signed between Egypt and the European Union, the European Investment Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. The General Authority for Investment and Free Zones (GAFI) signed memorandums of understanding with Ethiopia and Uganda, for cooperation in the field of investment.
The Kuwait Development Fund signed five agreements, including three with Egypt for the establishment of the Bahr al-Bakar water system, four new desalination plants, the Mangoky River Bridge Project Agreement with Madagascar, the Cocody Bay Development Project Agreement with Côte d’Ivoire, and the Mangochi Drinking Water Extension Project with Malawi.
The forum also saw a session for the empowerment of women and entrepreneurs, and several sessions that discussed strategies to attract investments to Africa to accelerate the growth of start-ups, provide a good business environment for entrepreneurs across the continent and strengthen cross-border economic relations.
Attendees included the presidents of Niger, Sierra Leon and Madagascar and a number of heads of international finance institutions and ministers from African countries.
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi announced the establishment of an investment risk guarantee fund in Africa to encourage Egyptian investors to direct their investments to the continent and participate in its development to benefit from the huge opportunities available.
He also announced negotiating with international institutions to support the infrastructure projects such as the Cairo-Cape Town road to integrate the continent’s countries and further expand trade.
Furthermore, Sisi announced the establishment of a fund to invest in information infrastructure in order to support technological development and digital transformation in Africa in order to build modern economies based on the latest technological systems.
Sisi urged cooperation between Egypt and other African countries within the areas of governance and fighting corruption through the exchange of experience, and training and rehabilitation programs.
He also announced the launch of the second phase of the national strategy for fighting corruption 2019-2022 as part of the celebration of World Anti-Corruption Day.
He announced that the National Anti-Corruption Academy would provide 250 training grants for African cadres in the field of anti-corruption.
The forum’s recommendations, announced by Investment Minister Sahar Nasr, include the activation of measures that stimulate investment flows through the investment risk guarantee fund across the continent, enhancing African cooperation in the field of investment with other partners including financing institutions and investment banks, enhancing partnership between public and private sectors especially in transport and linkage projects and the use of technological development, industrial intelligence and digital transformation tools to serve development efforts that create new markets and job opportunities.
Other recommendations include empowering women economically by supporting small and medium-sized enterprise programs, backing rehabilitation and training programs for young people and backing the anti-corruption initiatives and the establishment of good governance principles.
The “Africa 2018” forum held in Sharm al-Sheikh comes amid aspirations to achieve greater regional integration and to facilitate intraregional trade as well as increase investments between African countries, Sisi said.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm