Gauteng Premier David Makhura has encouraged businesses to invest in the growth of the African economy, saying that his province was ready to contribute to its realisation.
Speaking at the opening day of the Africa Investment Forum in Johannesburg, Makhura said that Gauteng contributed 35 percent to South Africa's GDP and six percent to the total GDP of the continent. He said that Gauteng was a key driver of Africa's economic integration and intra-Africa trade.
Makhura said that Gauteng-based companies had more than 200 foreign direct investment active projects, amounting to US$30-billion, in different African regions.
"Our desire is to see Africa transition from poverty to prosperity in our lifetime. The mission of my generation is to move Africa from aid to investment.
"Aid impoverishes and entraps Africa in a dependency trap. Today Africa is the 21st century’s biggest investment frontier," Makhura said.
"It is now time to turn Africa’s potential into real progress that can be measured in improvements in the quality of life and well-being of African populations across the continent and the Diaspora. The youth and women need real business opportunities and decent jobs."
The Africa Investment Forum brings together project sponsors, pension funds, sovereign wealth funds, private investors, policy makers, private equity firms and heads of government to raise capital to advance Africa’s economic transformation agenda.
Makhura said the forum is the Davos of Africa. He said it will be less about talking and more about transactions, adding that it was a great platform to translate Africa’s professed potential into real progress.
The African Development Bank (AfDB) is working with other multi-lateral development partners and stakeholders to ensure that the Africa Investment Forum (AIF) becomes Africa’s key springboard for investment and for meeting the continent’s massive infrastructure and development needs.
President of AfDB, Akinwumi Adesina, said Africa must stop being a basket case for aid and a museum of poverty and take its rightful place in the world as an investment destination.
"We are not going to be the museum of poverty in the world. We will be a destination of investment. "No country has developed by aid but countries develop by the discipline of their investment.
"For too long Africa has been seen as a development destination. I want Africa to be an investment destination," Adesina said.
"The role of leadership is very important. Presidents are now coming to the party. This says presidents are actually CEOs of their countries.
"We are not here to discuss aid. What we should do is to scale up, speed up, and synergise. We wouldn't be here without a vision."