Business for Africa, Egypt and the World Forum, meant to promote African ties and partnerships, opened on Saturday in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt in the presence of high level government and business leaders.
The two-day event was graced by the presence of Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari as well as President Omar al-Bashir of Sudan, among others.
Hailemariam said at the event: “The socio-economic development which Ethiopia is undertaking in the East African region shows its dedication for the success of the economic integration that Africa has planned.”
He noted that Ethiopia is building infrastructure to promote regional integration, in addition to its efforts to bring about economic growth within itself, citing the country’s move to create regional power, road and railway interconnections with Djibouti, Sudan, Kenya and South Sudan as a case in point.
According to the Premier, Ethiopia is doing this because counties could not achieve development in isolation from the others.
“Ethiopia doesn’t want the economic integration which it has been creating be limited at a regional level. It is committed to discharge its responsibility for the economic integration and sustainable development of the Continent,” he said.
The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), being built on the Nile river, is one of the efforts that Ethiopia has been exerting to fetch regional and continental integration through power.
The Premier also reiterated Ethiopia’s firm stance towards equitable utilization of Nile waters for the mutual benefit of all riparian countries.
“Ethiopia is committed to achieving sustainable development and utilization of the Nile waters for the benefit of everyone and all parties,” he said.
The declaration of principles signed between Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt in Khartoum shows Ethiopia’s commitment to mutual cooperation and the promotion of confidence for the entire Nile basin development, he added.
The Premier also called for individual and collective efforts to achieve the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the East African Community (EAC) tripartite free trade zone launched last year.
The Premier closed by stating that the Forum will provide great opportunities for Africa to take advantage of the opportunities available in the Continent.
In his opening remark, Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, told the attendees that “achieving development is one of the main challenges facing Africans, which requires developing the mechanisms of joint action.”
El-Sisi added that Egypt is looking forward to the future establishment of the African Free Trade Zone.
President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Dr Akinwumi Adesina, also present, said that the bank will work for the economic integration of Africa and economic growth of African countries.
Resolving the bottlenecks in the energy sector, ensuring food security, expanding the manufacturing sector, facilitating the economic integration and improving the livelihood of Africans are some of the areas which the bank will focus in the years to come, he said.
Source: Fana Broadcasting Corporate