General News of Sunday, 28 August 2016
Africa has the potential of becoming the world’s food basket, Ghana’s President John Mahama has said.
Speaking at the 6th Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD VI) in Nairobi, Kenya, Mr Mahama said: “Africa has the potential to be the world’s next most dynamic growth sector. We have the world’s youngest population and some of its fastest growing economies; therefore, we are a dynamic market with huge business opportunities for those who are willing and prepared to engage with us to unleash those potentials.
“Democracy, peace, and stability are spreading and above all the continent can become the bread basket of the world given its vast arable lands and potential for increased agricultural productivity with the right investment,” Mr Mahama noted.
Mr Mahama invited Japanese investors to venture into Africa saying: “Fears about insecurity in Africa should not be over-emphasised or be a disincentive because as we have seen recently, the world is so interconnected today that our safety and security have to be our collective responsibility. We have to work together to create a safer and peaceful world.”
He said Africa, nonetheless, has its “challenges… which we are working to redress, but right partnerships will help us to manage and mitigate the impact of these challenges and risks. Potentially, we could be the hardest hit by the effects of climate change and our economies have undoubtedly been affected by the recent significant drops in commodity prices on the world market…”
According to Mr Mahama, Africa aims to “work together with our Japanese partners to develop the businesses that will grow our economies and create an environment that supports expansion and development of our private sector and increasing prosperity. We want to take advantage of the appropriate technologies to produce efficiently and competitively and attract investments and financial resources in spurring innovative solutions to our development challenges and create new businesses as a result and three, we want to work together on regulatory reforms to understand how to create an enabling business environment to attract the private sector of Japan to invest in Africa and to create efficient and effective regulation.”
Mr Mahama expressed appreciation to Japan for standing by Africa all the time. “We appreciate that Japan has been generous and has stood by Africa at all times when other partners were suffering from aid fatigue. Japanese [aid] rose from $758m in 2000 to about $10 billion in 2014, which is very significant and a demonstration of true friendship. However, when you share $10billion between 54 countries, there’s not much to go around to make a significant impact. … We want to move away from aid to trade. Japan has never failed Africa and we are confident again on this occasion that Japan will rise to the occasion…” he hoped.