Forestry industry is helping Gabon diversify its economy (photo:Yann Arthus-Bertrand/Getty)

Investment, Diversification Key to Growth—African Ministers

April 24, 2017

Boosting private investment and diversifying revenue streams are pivotal to increasing growth in the current environment, African Finance Ministers said during the IMF-World Bank Spring Meetings in Washington, D.C.

Gabon’s Finance Minister, Regis Immongault, said, with oil revenues significantly down, finding the resources to build much needed infrastructure is becoming increasingly difficult. “We must make hard choices and choose those projects that will boost growth. We also need to make our business environment more attractive for private investors to participate in the financing of infrastructure projects,” Immongault said.

While Senegal continues to experience growth above 6 percent, Finance Minister Amadou Ba said private investment is crucial to sustaining this level of growth. Senegal has established special economic zones where businesses can operate with fewer regulatory obstructions. "It's a space where we’ve tried to create a business environment that is consistent with international best practices to attract more foreign investors," Ba said.

Liberia’s Finance Minister, Boima Kamara, said the lingering effects of the Ebola crisis, as well as weak global demand for iron ore and rubber has meant zero percent growth since 2014. If there’s a lesson to be learned from the past 3 years, Kamara said, it’s diversification. “As long as we remain reliant on the extractive industries to drive growth, we are vulnerable. The way to build a resilient economy is to diversify and leverage on our comparative advantage as a country—and that would be agriculture.”

Despite its difficulties, Liberia has enjoyed relative peace and stability since the civil war ended in 2003, and Kamara noted good governance was important for the development of the entire region.

“The quality of life for people in our respective countries will be reflected in the quality of our laws, and how those laws are respected,” Kamara said.

Show Comments

Leave Your Comments

Comments are moderated, and will be posted after they have been reviewed.