May 22, 2009
Africa 'must do more on business climate'
Mr Omar Issa
By The Citizen Reporter
African countries are making progress in improving their investment climates
but a lot remains to be done to make the continent conducive for
entrepreneurship, the head of the Investment Climate Facility for Africa has
Speaking this week in London, Mr Omar Issa (pictured) underlined the
importance of removing existing barriers to doing business, saying that was
the best means of unlocking the continent's investment potential.
He told a House of Commons event that African governments have a key role to
play in thrusting the investments require to, among other things, create
The meeting, which was attended by a group of senior British
parliamentarians and business leaders, was hosted by the UK�s Associate
Parliamentary Group on Business, Finance and Accountancy
"By addressing the underlying issues that currently hamper enterprise and
entrepreneurship � namely, practical struggles with bureaucracy, regulation,
red tape and infrastructure � African governments have a key role to play in
delivering greater domestic and foreign investment, with important long-term
benefits for economic growth, job creation and poverty alleviation," he
"The solutions to Africa's investment problems will be delivered on the
ground by African governments. By streamlining processes, removing red tape,
increasing transparency, improving infrastructure and reducing start-up
costs, governments have a key role to play in enabling their countries to
find their own way to economic growth and prosperity."
ICF is working in partnership with several African governments and a number
of regional organisations to deliver tangible and self-sustaining
improvements in a number of priority areas that are central to creating a
healthy business environment.
These include property rights and contract enforcement, business
registration and licensing, taxation and customs administration and
ICF is a public-private partnership between government and business that
aims to help Africa create a more attractive business environment and
realize its potential as a global player and trading partner.
The organisation believes that such improvements will support and stimulate
Africa's SME sector, with important consequences for the continent's
longer-term economic growth.
In a keynote speech at the London Business School's eighth annual Africa Day
conference, Mr Issa argued that it was now more important than ever those
African governments get the fundamentals in place. He said that is
strategically important for delivering practical and self-sustaining change.
"We are not responding to any financial crisis here, we are responding to
long term business issues and now is the time for African governments and
the private sector to work together to address the fundamentals," he said.