UN seeks investment in infrastructure, market growth in Africa

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Mr Siddharth Chatterjee, Coordinator of the United Nations Development System in China, has called for adequate investment in infrastructure to boost market growth in Africa.

Chatterjee said this in his address at the reception ceremony of new ambassadors and their spouses organised by Amb. Baba Ahmad Jidda, Ambassador of Nigeria to China.

Chatterjee said, “If you have to maintain your philosophy of growth, you have to invest in Africa now because this is s population that will hit 2.5 billion by 2050.

“It is going to be the biggest market of producers and consumers; it is the youngest continent in the world.

“The middle age of African is 18, whereas the middle age of China is already 47, the middle age of Sweden is 49; you have to shape and nurture those markets now.

“In order to do that you have to invest there. I think we have to get the UN involved, in terms of providing basic infrastructure.

According to him, the UN has not been fully utilised in your respective countries, adding that “it is an untapped potential that you still have that has lots of different agencies, programmed and social policy experts”.

He further said that there is the need for focused group discussion on issues that border delopment of the continent to chat way forward.

He quoted the African Development Bank as having predicted that by 2030 agro-business in Africa will actually grow up to 1trilkiin USD.

“The continent has 60 per cent of arrable land and then, we are currently net importers of 100billiin USD worth of food yearly.

“40 or 50 per cent of agriculture products were post-harvest loss, adding that “we have to look at the China-Africa bridge, to bring in the technology and innovation.

“Look at the China-Africa bridge to bring in the technology and innovation, the second aeea is in the place of health.

“Actually, companies can make profit of these if we can achieve economy of scale and bring the cost down, heathy Africa means healthy market.

“This implies that there are enormous opportunities which are already starting to take place,” he said.

In an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) Amb. Martin Mpana, Dean of Group of African Ambassadors and Ambassador of Cameroon to China, commended the UN investment in Africa initiative.

Mpana said, “It is on the right track and that is what we want and wish to work for; the question of investment is a little bit difficult.

“The global economy is a bit contracted, not in a recession but we are not far from it, so you can imagine that fear is in each country.

“We do welcome investment wherever they come from, because definitely Africa needs financial means to invest in infrastructure,” Mpana said.

He reiterated that investment is needed to connect countries, build roads, airports, as well as other facilities in line with growing population.