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Denys Bédarride
27 January 2021 Last update on Wednesday, January 27, 2021 At 6:30 PM

Africa's economy shrank 2.1% in 2020 and is expected to grow 3.4% in 2021 as the global economy recovers from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic Africa remains a fertile ground for investment, but much of this depends on the continent's ability to boost its health sector, African Development Bank President Akinwumi A. Adesina said on Wednesday. at the Africa Investment Conference.

President Adesina spoke at this one-day virtual event hosted by the UK Department for International Trade, which brought together UK and African leaders from business and government to discuss investment opportunities and partnership.

Four sectors were at the center of the discussions: sustainable infrastructure, renewable energy, financial and professional services, and agriculture and agrotechnology.

UK Commissioner for Trade in Africa Emma Wade-Smith joined the President of the Bank for an informal discussion on ‘Building back better, using the strengths and values ​​of the UK’s private sector and opportunities business-to-business, working with the UK government and other partners going forward. ”

“Africa still has the fundamentals that have contributed to the continent’s phenomenal growth over the past decade,” said Akinwumi A. Adesina. The continent offered vast possibilities in terms of natural resources, huge tracts of arable land and a young population, the engine of rapid urbanization.

The potential of the brand new African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) was also highlighted. “The fundamentals of these phenomenal growth rates in Africa still exist […].

Africa stands out when it comes to the ease of doing business […]. The digital explosion seen today in Africa is very promising, “added President Adesina, citing in particular the wave of mergers and acquisitions carried out among African companies. Africa’s economy shrank 2.1% in 2020 and is expected to grow 3.4% in 2021 as the global economy recovers from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Asked by Emma Wade-Smith about the impact of vaccines on Africa’s economic outlook, Akinwumi A. Adesina said it was a long-term problem. Wade-Smith said she was happy to hear that ten of the fastest growing economies are still in Africa, adding that there is not enough communication on the extent of innovation in the region.

She said it was entirely possible to combine African and British innovation. “I was amazed at how many opportunities there are,” she added.

Africa has just 365 pharmaceutical companies, compared to 7,000 in China and 11,000 in India, two countries with populations comparable in size to the continent. British investors have been strongly encouraged to look to Africa.

“This is where the new frontier is! “Said President Adesina. British attendees included Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Minister for Africa James Duddridge, Minister for Investment Gerry Grimstone as well as executives from Standard Bank, pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca and telephone operator mobile Vodacom.

Boris Johnson had previously told the conference that while “a lot has changed” since last year, “I can tell you what has not changed: my ambition for the UK to be the partner of Africa’s investment.

” The conference follows the Prime Minister’s successful UK-Africa Investment Summit in London in 2020, where 27 trade and investment deals valued at £ 6.5 billion, as well as commitments valued at £ 8.9 billion, had been announced. Africa then concentrated eight of the fifteen fastest-growing economies in the world amid a wave of optimism surrounding its economic recovery.

Source: African Development Bank Group (AfDB)