Honorable Ministers,


Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,

Thank you for joining us today at the African Heads of State and Government Investment working lunch hosted in the prestigious premises of the New York Stock Exchange.

This Lunch offers an exclusive stage for business leaders to engage directly with African leaders on investment partnerships promoting regional economic integration in Africa.


Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,

“Today the world looks at Africa in a different light, one of hope and admiration for the progress that it is making”, as was recently declared by the United Nations Secretary-General. (Secretary-General’s Report on the Causes of Conflict and Promotion of durable peace in Africa)

Indeed, over the past decade, a lot of positive changes have taken place. Africa’s economy grew on average at around 5 per cent annually. This performance was underpinned by sound macroeconomic and structural reforms within a context of a more stable political environment characterized by a decline in conflicts and an improved context of governance as well as an improved role for the private sector.

Africa today has the world’s most promising growth potential. The continent has been the home of six out of the ten fastest growing economies in the world. African economies offer higher rates of returns on investments than any other region. Africa is also immensely rich in mostly untapped natural resources, and carries 60 per cent of the world’s total amount of uncultivated arable land. The continent is home to more than a billion inhabitants, the majority comprising the youth, offering great market potential thanks to the increasing purchasing power of its consumers. The middle class is also steadily expanding.

The continent thus offers promising long-term growth prospects which would be further enhanced by its ongoing regional economic integration process aiming ultimately at the establishment of an African Economic Community.

In its 2011 World Bank’s Doing Business report notes that African economies are among the top reformers. 

While acknowledging efforts undertaken to improve the business environment like for example improvement of business regulations related to trade facilitation, one should not ignore the various remaining obstacles such as weak economic infrastructure, lack of diversification and low value addition.

That being said, Africa has become more than ever a land of opportunities for investors.


Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,

This Forum provides – may I say a golden opportunity –  an opportunity to speak frankly about achievements and challenges related to investing in Africa.

Since my Office has among its core activity the advocacy for Africa and the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) at the Global Level, I am pleased to contribute to this initiative.

This event is more than timely since it coincides with the 10th anniversary of the NEPAD that is also promoting investment towards regional African infrastructure projects key for growth and regional economic integration.

It is now time to change perception about Africa, to dispel misconceptions and myths about Africa and now it is up to you to turn Africa’s business growth potential into reality.

I thank you for your kind attention and wish you an enjoyable lunch and useful discussions.