Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila says governments have long determined that the private sector is the engine for growth and as such this sphere of activity should participate in deliberations and set strategies if the African continent is to optimise its abundant natural resources and capabilities.
The Prime Minister who spoke to New Era last Sunday at the closure in Nairobi, Kenya of the recent two-day Sixth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD VI), noted the recent TICAD conference attended by 10 000 delegates had a high participation of the private sector.
Kuugongelwa-Amadhila stated: “We have long determined the private sector is the engine for growth in any economy – and unless the private sector actively participates in deliberations on strategies for achieving development in Africa it would not be possible for us to optimise the resources and capabilities of the private sector, to enable it to play its due role in the economic development of Africa.”
“So here (in Nairobi) we had the participation of the private sector – not only from Africa but also from Japan and from other countries. So it means that the cooperation that we are going to pursue as African governments together with the Japanese government will eventually galvanise private sector activities and therefore make the cooperation between Africa and Japan more sustainable in the medium to long-term, because we cannot hope to continue our cooperation on the basis of government-to-government aid assistance,” she said in an interview at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre (KICC).
“Eventually the cooperation between our governments and the aid that we receive from Japan and from other development partners would enable us to catalyse private sector trade and investments. That is the only way that we are going to ensure that as Africans we are assisted to grow, and African states are able to share in the growing prosperity of the world,” she further articulated.
Kuugongelwa-Amadhila also echoed sentiments by Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta that many countries particularly in the first-world are resorting more towards isolationism and other adverse trade barriers.
She said many African companies are unable to compete with countries having developed economies because their governments give out subsidies for their industries, which also make it extremely difficult for companies in Africa to penetrate markets in the first world.
In a related development the Prime Minister also had a meeting with a high-profile business delegation from Marubeni Corporation led by Fumiya Kokubu, the president and member of the board of Marubeni.
The multinational has interests in food processing, energy, construction and industrial machinery and has its footprint in North America, Central and South America, Africa, Europe, the Middle East and Oceania, and it has expressed its interest in the long-delayed Kudu Gas Project in Namibia.
During the meeting Kuugongelwa-Amadhila appraised the group about Namibia having long embraced the public-private partnership (PPP) concept and she also briefed them about opportunities existing in the construction sector, such as the mass housing programme intended to offset the backlog of 100 000 housing units.
She informed the group about the planned construction of a new desalination plant, intended to address the country’s water shortage caused by the drought that has recurred over a three-year cycle, and she also invited the group to attend the Namibia investors’ conference planned as a side event at the United Nations General Assembly, scheduled for later this year.
• (See the full interview with the Prime Minister in Monday’s edition of New Era)