Deputy Finance Minister Wolokollie addresses London Forum -Says Equitable Trade Agreements, Regional Trade will drive investment in Africa
MONROVIA: Deputy Finance Minister for Expenditure, Samura P.Z. Wolokkollie says equitable trade agreements, transparent governance as well as regulations driving regional trade, are among policies critical to stimulating trade and investment across Africa.
Delivering the keynote address during the thematic discussion on investment and trade in Africa, at the African Achievers’ Awards Annual Lecture in London, United Kingdom, Minister Wolokolie, advanced strategies and partnerships to ensure the benefits of Africa’s vast natural resources for all.
He identified robust infrastructure that will connect the economies of Africa and facilitate regional trade; heralding the African Continental Free Trade Area (AFCFTA) as a vehicle to foster economic integration while enhancing Africa’s competitiveness on the global stage, noting that the engine of the African economies will be led by qualified and trained manpower.
He earmarked education and skills training for the youth of the continent as key drivers to produce the expertise required for the rapidly changing global economy.
Toward attracting Foreign and Direct investment, Minister Wolokolie insists that the regulatory framework is also critical.
“African Governments can create an enabling environment for FDI by implementing transparent regulations, ensuring the rule of law, and providing incentives for investors,” he noted.
He advanced public private partnership as another dynamic to accelerate economic transformation, pointing to renewable energy, agriculture, healthcare as well as technology.
He recounted that Liberia is making the shift to boost local manufacturing built on policies to attract Foreign and Direct Investment.
‘Within the confines of the law, investors are given well-structured tax waivers to assist businesses. These incentives are now transitioning Liberia from being mostly reliant on imports to a nation with rising tide of domestic manufacturing,” Minister Wolokollie averred.
These policies, he stated further, are witnessing the launching of a steel manufacturing plant, soap and cement factories, among others.
He reminded the forum that it remains a top priority of the Government of Liberia to attract investors and provide the necessary framework to foster growth and economic development.
According to Mr. Wolokollie, unlocking the enormous investment prospect of the African continent requires a wide range of policies. ‘Commitment to sustainable business practice; a responsible corporate behavior, ethical supply chain; indicating that environmental stewardship should be integral to every business operating in Africa.
By adopting sustainable practices, businesses can contribute to the continent’s development while safeguarding the environment and promoting social well-being, he said.
He admonished the organizers to foster collaboration between businesses and academia; also reaching out with partners beyond the content.
Collaborations between governments in Europe and Africa will lead to mutually beneficial outcomes towards knowledge exchange, technology transfer and innovative solutions to global challenges, he said, noting that the path to economic prosperity will also rely on academia-leveraging research to consolidate innovation.
Businesses, Mr. Wolokollie stated, can position their resources and networks to cushion African entrepreneurs, highlighting sustainable projects; thereby producing shared value. “A prosperous and sustainable future for Africa means economic growth that benefits all citizens, reduced poverty and inequality, improved health care and education, and a thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem.”
Achieving these broad themes will require a clear road map, Mr. Wolokollie said, and stressed the need to maintain a long-term perspective around sustainability, inclusivity, and shared prosperity, noting that these will be built upon the core issues of equitable trade agreements; fair investment practices; and a transparent governance system that promote trust and confidence among all stakeholders.