President Cyril Ramaphosa. FILE PHOTO: ANA

JOHANNESBURG - President Cyril Ramaphosa will on Thursday morning officially open the inaugural session of the African Development Bank's Africa Investment Forum (AIF).  

During his keynote address at the welcome dinner on Wednesday night, Ramaphosa said that integration, cooperation and deepening of intra-African trade was the key to attracting investment and growing Africa's respective economies. 

"In July this year, South Africa joined 44 other countries in signing the African Continental Free Trade Area agreement. The agreement will pave the way for greater inter-regional trade, increased investment and faster industrialisation," Ramaphosa said.

"To do this, we must confront some of the perceptions that exist about investing in African countries. There are concerns that barriers to entry are high, regulatory red tape is overly burdensome, and governance challenges make investing in African economies risky."

The forum provides an open platform to multilateral institutions, governments and the private sector to improve the pipeline of projects that can transform the continent.

The African Development Bank said that although Africa was brimming with investment opportunities, there was an urgent need to bridge the gap between its available capital and bankable projects. 

The bank says financing Africa’s development needs will require an estimated US $600 to US $700 billion per annum. 

The forum is attended by a number of Heads of State and Government from across the African continent, including Nigeria's Muhammadu Buhari, Kenya's Uhuru Kenyatta, and Rwanda's Paul Kagame.

- African News Agency (ANA)