Sida’s Director General Charlotte Petri Gornitzka in a panel discussion alongside H.E Ambassador Rev. Edith Mutale, Zambia and H.E Ambassador Woinshet Tadesse, Ethiopia, on how African countries and Sweden can continue to develop prosperous cooperation.
Investment opportunities in African markets
To finance and sustain the future development agenda we need to develop new methods, tools and partnerships to ensure that financial flows are used to meet development goals. “Aid can play a catalytic role to engage more actors”, says Sida’s Director-General Charlotte Petri Gornitzka at a conference on the potential of investments in African markets.
Today African countries and their markets are on top of mind in the context of financing for development. African markets are characterized by economic growth and hope for the future. Sub-Saharan Africa’s growth improved, for the second consecutive year, to 4.5 percent in 2014
To attract more business cooperation between Sweden and African countries, the financial newspaper Dagens Industri arranged a conference in March 2015 detailing both the current opportunities for investments in Africa and the potential ten years on.
Participants included Swedish businesses like Swedfund, Ericsson, KPMG, Smiling Group, Swecare and Volvo Group, representatives from Sida, the African Development Bank, Business Sweden South Africa as well as Ambassadors from Kenya, Zambia and Ethiopia and former Foreign Minister of Sweden Carl Bildt.
The relation between Sweden and African countries has long been characterized by relief efforts and programs for democracy, but the last couple of years has seen an increased focus on business development and trade agreements.
“The vision of Sida is the same, we are here to save lives and eradicate poverty, but the means to do this have somewhat changed. Today we can see that there is an interest in Sweden for investments in this part of the world,” said Sida’s Director General Charlotte Petri Gornitzka, commenting on the new role of Sida in stimulating the Swedish business presence in African countries.
An important aspect is how Swedish businesses can help Sida and its partners to reach development goals, including fair trade and gender equality.
“Swedish development includes a gender perspective. When we do this together, 30 percent of the students ought to be women”, said Charlotte Petri Gornitzka, commenting on the cooperation with the Volvo Group that offers vocational training in mechanics to young people in Ethiopia.
The seminar also brought to discussion how Swedish organisations can help reduce the practice of corruption.
The catalytic role of aid
Sida also participated in a thematic seminar on the power and future of African infrastructure. Africa is growing fast, but a lack of reliable infrastructure is the greatest constraint to sustained growth. African infrastructure needs an estimated 90 billion dollar in investments, which would increase the economic growth rate by 2 percentage points.
Therefore we cooperate with companies and investors to engage in the markets south of Sahara, and ultimately to reach the goals of sustainable development and poverty reduction.
“Aid can actually play a catalytic role to engage more actors. It’s about finding new opportunities for big investors but also for small companies to scale up”, says Charlotte Petri Gornitzka.
In recent years, Sida has intensified its work on financing for development by introducing a range of initiatives to facilitate private and institutional investments in Africa, such as Power Africa and Challenge Funds. Sida has also focused its efforts on lowering the investment risks by mobilizing institutional capital that will accelerate development cooperation by engaging financial partners such as banks, pension institutions and philanthropists.
In 2015 the international community will agree on a new sustainable development agenda and its financing, the topic of the high-level UN Conference on Financing for Development in Addis Ababa in mid-July. New methods, tools and partnerships to unlock and mobilize resources will be crucial for the international development cooperation to come.