The East African Community (EAC) Secretary General Liberat Mfumukeko has invited wealthy Russians to invest in the region to stimulate growth and create more jobs, Chimp Corps report
Mfumukeko on Friday graced St Petersburg International Economic Forum where he asked Russia’s Deputy Minister of Investments and Innovation and Russian investors to visit East Africa.
“We are looking for investors,” said Mfumukeko.
“Russia, probably, is the largest concentration of billionaires on the world. There is money needed to support industrial development in East Africa,” he added.
The high-level conference was graced by the President of China Xi Jinping, President of Bulgaria Rumen Radev, Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan, Prime Minister of Slovakia Peter Pellegrini and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.
The discussion was moderated by journalist, RT TV Channel presenter Sophie Shevardnadze.
Russia has in recent years adopted a new approach to its relationship with Africa.
Many Russian companies are eyeing Africa for investment, an opportunity for the region to tap resources for its own growth in the areas of technology, defence, manufacturing and infrastructure development.
On October 24, 2019, Sochi will host the Russia-Africa Summit, co-chaired by President Vladimir Putin and President of Egypt Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, who also heads the African Union.
This will be the first event of this level in the history of Russian-African relations, with the heads of all states of the African continent invited, as well as leaders of major sub-regional associations and organisations.
At the summit, special attention will be paid to the current state and prospects of Russia’s relations with African countries and to the expansion of the political, economic, technical and cultural cooperation.
It is planned to discuss joint response to new challenges and threats, and strengthening of the regional stability. At the end of the meeting, the participants are to adopt a political declaration on the key areas of Russian-African cooperation.
Mfumukeko speaks out
Mfumukeko said the target is not only Russia but also the Eurasian Economic Union which has very close ties with China than other economic communities.
“Political and economic ties between EAC and these emerging and powerful blocs are important,” said the EAC SG.
Asked to specify areas which EAC needs investment from Russia, Mfumukeko observed: “The top priority for EAC has to be addressing appropriately basic needs and concerns of our citizenry. These include food security, health, education and other social services.”
He said the region also needs to address the alarming unemployment rate.
“Jobs need to be created through implementation of an aggressive policy geared towards fast tracking development of the private sector, industrialization and investment in the region,” Mfumukeko told ChimpReports on Saturday.
“Our business climate needs significant improvements. EAC is yet to be a single investment destination through harmonization of its laws and practices, and EAC needs to invest much more resources in promotion of investment in the region,” he emphasised.
Russia and South Africa recently signed intergovernmental documents on cooperation in agriculture and management of water resources.