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24.10.2002 Business & Finance

Investment To Africa Declines

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The Canadian High Commissioner, Mr Jean-Pierre Bolduc on Wednesday said Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) to Africa had declined over the past ten years due to unstable political environment. He stated that the continent attracted almost 20 times less investment than Asia-Pacific or Latin America in 2000. Mr Bolduc was speaking at a sub-regional roundtable conference on ''Strengthening Regional Capacity for Conflict Resolution and Human Security in West Africa: A Response to NEPAD'', in Accra on Wednesday. The Conference was to foster dialogue and consensus building within the sub-region on issues that boarded on conflict and security as well as mop up strategies for conflict prevention and resolutions. It was held in the aftermath of the G8 Summit in June 2002, where an African Action Plan was released in response to the NEPAD process. Mr Bolduc stated that Africa had attracted only 1.1 billion dollars, while the Middle East received 1.9 billion dollars, Asia-Pacific 21 billion dollars, Latin America 19.9 billion dollars and Europe 76.9 billion dollars.

He said, "Africa's share of world trade dropped from three per cent in 1990 to 1.7 per cent in 2000, mainly consisting of primary goods and raw materials."

Mr Bolduc said investors were not attracted to vulnerable economies on the continent due to unstable political governments and social situations that make for trade and investment uncertain.

He explained that Official Development Assistance, which used to be the primary outside source of capital for developing countries, has been surpassed by FDI.

Mr Bolduc stressed that the trend would continue in spite of the current temporary world economic uncertainty.

He also commented on "New Partnership for Economic Development (NEPAD) Process and Security."

Mr Bolduc said the initiative of the partnership called for sustained upliftment of nations and to ensure that they don't become passive recipients of grants and aid from benevolent countries but to focused on free trade and invite donors to become partners.

Mr Bolduc said NEPAD was about African ownership and leadership through good governance, peer review mechanisms, and placing the development and progress of the continent on the resourcefulness of the people.

He said it also aimed at accelerating and deepening regional and continental economic integration, building competitiveness of African countries and developing new partnership between African countries, governments and civil society with the industrialized world.

On Peace and Security under NEPAD, The High Commissioner said the initiative viewed the proliferation of small arms, light weapons and landmines as potential threat to the survival of the continent economic development.

NEPAD therefore outlined measures to strengthen existing regional and sub-regional institutions for the prevention, management and resolution of conflicts.

Dr Kwesi Aning, a Senior Researcher at the African Security Dialogue and Research told the GNA in an interview that the conference was to deepen the responsiveness of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Parliament, in particular and other areas of democratic deficit in its operations.

It would co-ordinate ECOWAS' efforts in strengthening capacity for early warning and conflict prevention with respect to the sub-region and also support efforts to strengthen the interface between the United Nations and ECOWAS.

Dr Aning said topics for the three-day conference included overview of the Security Situation in Sierra Leone with reference to the Mano River Union, West Africa Risk Assessment: Findings and Implications and strengthening ECOWAS capacity for early warning. Others were Sovereignty, Intervention and Reconciliation: What can outsiders do? Enhancing ECOWAS Parliament's Oversight Capacities in Security issues, Human Security, the role for development assistance in regional security, and the ECOWAS and the Ivorian crisis.

The rest were establishing a human security network for West Africa, engaging civil society in regional security structures and the NEPAD and Africa's Millennium. The conference was being organised by ASDR in collaboration with the Liu Centre for the study of Global Issues in Vancouver, Canada.

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