Africa’s private sector must be the engine of development strategies. This is according to Makhtar Diop , Managing Director, International Finance Corporation during the Africa CEO Forum held in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire.

“The private sector is an essential element for the continent’s growth -so that growth is not simply punctuated by the evolution of the price of raw materials.

“We need companies capable of being competitive on the foreign market that do mass production,” says Makhtar Diop

He was quick to note that if AfCFTA is driven by the private sector, it will offer Africa a unique opportunity to create economies of scale and reduce its dependence on the rest of the world while conquering markets, not only in Africa, but also globally.

In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, private investors across the continent have mobilized with development partners to make vaccine manufacturing possible in Africa.

“The same principle applies to the agricultural sector. Africa can feed Africa if it transforms its agricultural sector and tackles the issue of access to land. Grain trade is well below its potential due to high transaction costs, very low rates of return and inefficient logistics which could change if all stakeholders in the private sector could act together,” Diop added.

African tech startups have been on the rise the last couple of years and the talent has been immense and investments in them would mean great economic growth and transformation for the continent.

“Africa must continue to bet on digital. We have talented start-ups, we have a lot of talent in Africa, and the investments that will be made in submarine cables should allow us to accelerate this economic and structural transformation of our economies.”

“We must, of course, prioritize investments in the innovative field and take advantage of this renewed emphasis on the issue of climate change to encourage investments to participate in the value chain in this field.” Diop reiterated

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