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12.02.2007 Africa

AGI boss urges support for existing investors

By DAILYEXPRESS-Shaibu Abubakar
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Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) President, Anthony Oteng- Gyasi has urged governments to stop spending money looking for investors abroad and rather support already established local businesses to expand.

Speaking at the launch of a book on the 'Challenges of African Growth; Opportunities, Constraints, and Strategic Directions' the AGI boss said adherence to his advise will ensure the rapid growth of local industries placing them in a better position to relieve governments of the burden of unemployment as well as maintaining profit inflows.

Mr. Oteng- Gyasi who is also the Chairman of the University of Ghana Council said development is the result of increased economic activity which will lead to growth and a fertile ground for development. According to him, governments would be in a position to measure the success of the economy accurately only when the informal sector is properly formalized.

The book launch is part of the Development Dialogue Series of the World Bank and was themed 'Facing the Challenges of African Growth; A Review of 50 years of Economic Development in Africa'.

The author of the book, Professor Benno Ndulu in his presentation asked African countries to improve the investment climate in their respective countries by investing heavily in the area of infrastructure. He said countries such as Nigeria and Sudan with their large sizes could be in a position to attract the needed investment, but poor infrastructure is hampering that very process.

“Countries like Mauritius and Botswana despite their smaller sizes are experiencing rapid growth because of proper infrastructures,” he told the audience.

Professor Ndulu, a former Director of the African Economic Research Dialogue also observed that the era of Information Technology should not be lost on African governments since it's a key factor in the socio economic development process.

He concluded by reminding participants “it is only Africans who can shape their own destinies and it is high time leaders in the region eschewed corruption and move their people along towards maximum growth and development.”

Investment Consultant, Kwame Pianim in a contribution said, after several decades of external diagnosis to Africa's problems without success, it is time international institutions and donor partners left the continent to experiment its own policies and proposals for growth and development.

He said Africans should see themselves as stakeholders in the economic development agenda and should contribute their quota to make it work.

Other speakers at the launch included Dr. Nii Moi Thompson, an economist and Mr. Zeljko Bogetic, a lead economist at the Africa Regional Office of the World Bank.

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