Accra, Oct. 12 GNA - President John Agyekum Kufuor on Wednesday launched the Canada Investment Fund for Africa (CIFA), a 162-million-US dollar equity capital, to be invested across the whole of the continent. The governments of Canada and United Kingdom have between them contributed 121 million US dollars to the Fund and the difference would be raised from third party private and public investors.
President Kufuor said the Fund could not have come at a more appropriate and opportune time as it was going to help to address the problem of lack of finance, a major constraint facing Africa. "There is no doubt that it will attract other investors and entrepreneurs to the continent and in the process, we hope to gain in managerial expertise, technical know-how and best business practices," he said.
Africa, which is widely acclaimed to offer the highest rate of returns in the world, currently receives only one percent of global investments.
President Kufuor said Ghana would use the opportunity provided by the Fund to support small and medium enterprises, while encouraging partnerships among companies within the country and abroad. The inevitable generation of wealth should give a boost to government's efforts to fight poverty in line with the National Poverty Reduction Strategy.
He pointed out that Ghana's emerging business-friendly environment had the stamp of a growing financial sector confidence including a stabilising currency. President Kufuor said, in addition to the relative peace, intelligent and adaptable labour force, the Government had put in place various legal instruments to create a level playing field for the conduct of business in a fair and transparent manner. He lauded the Governments of Canada and the UK for their quick response to the Action Plan of the G-8 countries to provide support to Africa.
He said he had every confidence that beneficiary African countries would use the CIFA to advance the economic well-being of their people. Mr Donald Bobiash, the Canadian High Commissioner, said Ghana's success story influenced its choice for the launch of the Fund. He said, CIFA, a public-private partnership created by the Government of Canada, was specifically designed to encourage foreign direct investment inflow into Africa and thereby contribute to its economic growth and development.
The High Commissioner said the private sector was a critical element of poverty reduction and therefore, there was the need to harness its creative force for sustainable growth.
He said the Government of Canada through the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) would match dollar-for-dollar, all investments in the Fund up to 100 million Canadian dollars.
Representatives from UK, Canada, South Africa and Nigeria attended the ceremony.