President Cyril Ramaphosa has said African politicians must "keep their hands" out of intra-Africa investment deals and open up to allow the private sector to get on with the job. Speaking at a business forum of South African and Ghanaian businesses in Accra on Sunday, Ramaphosa added investment projects should be depoliticized, where governments only played a support role.
Ramaphosa who is on a four-leg stop on West Africa has visited Nigeria, Ivory Coast, and now Ghana where he is promoting the Africa Continental Free Trade Area agreement that will see the continent deregulate and allow people to travel without restriction as well as create one investment template for all African countries.
"Africa must move away from too much political involvement by politicians - where politicians put their fingers in projects … it's awarding and it's execution. And I dare say dirty fingers. We need to depoliticize investment."
He said trade between countries should be reliant on professionals who dealt with financing and the execution of those projects.
"There should not be arbitrariness, because a CEO did not comply with one regulation is arrested and put in prison. We have to standardize the way we work," Ramaphosa added. The sentiment that trade should be depoliticized was shared by his counterpart, President Nana Addo Akufo-Addo, who said governments should assist businesses in setting up and then step out of the way.
"We must let the business people get along with doing business," he added, saying profitable businesses were important. Akufo-Addo said while 16% of Africa's combined GDP was from the continent, 72% of Europe's combined GDP was as a result of intra-Europe trade.
The secretary-general of the AfCFTA - a trade agreement that was signed by most African countries to allow for free trade across the continent - Wamkele Mene said the success of the agreement was premised on private-sector commitment.
"The success of the AfCFTA is intrinsically linked to the success of bilateral trade," Mene added.
In his address, Ramaphosa said there needed to be a speedy adoption of the investment protocol of the AfCFTA as it would boost intercontinental investments.
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