South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has called for more investment in Africa, saying the future of the continent relied on business and not aid.
“We have reached a moment in our history where Africa needs investment more than it needs foreign aid,” President Ramaphosa said on Monday at the Financial Times Africa Summit 2019 in London.
The South African leader arrived in the U.K. on Sunday for a two-day working visit, which will also see him engage investors and business leaders with the aim of attracting further investment to his country.
Themed ‘Africa in Motion’, the 2019 FT Africa Summit focuses on the continent’s youth, women, entrepreneurs, scientists and artists and innovation.
“Africa is ready to partner with investors and the private sector because it’s been proven many times over and in numerous countries that discerning investors who have the foresight to invest in Africa can earn good returns.” President Ramaphosa said in his address.
He also noted the continent’s plan to launch the African Continental Free Trade Area, which has been hailed as the key to unlocking Africa’s potential.
“It will bring together into a single market 54 nations of some 1.2 billion people and a combined GDP of over $3 trillion,” President Ramaphosa said.
The decision to establish the AfCFTA was initially arrived at in the 18th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union in January 2012, with a tentative launch date of 2017. However, it was not until July 2019 that the AfCFTA’s operational phase was launched, during the 12th Extraordinary Summit of the African Union (AU).