Sharm Elsheikh - SIS
President Abdel Fattah El Sisi witnessed the closing session of Africa 2018 Forum held in the Red Sea resort of Sharm El Sheikh.
Sisi was welcomed with applause as he entered the conference hall.
The forum's closing session was attended by a galaxy of ministers, high-level Egyptian and African officials besides a great number of experts and specialists in the economic field.
Most of the attendees were youths who came from all over the African continent in light of the attention paid by President Sisi to youths especially the Africans.
The forum witnessed the participation of ten African Presidents and a number of premiers and ministers in addition to 2,000 businessmen, investors and high-level figures in the field of business.
Investment Minister Sahr Nasr thanked the leaders, ministers, parliamentarians, heads of international funding institutions and investment banks, investors and entrepreneurs who took part in Africa 2018 Forum, pointing out to the active participation of the African women and promising youths.
The forum took up the priorities of economic development and investment opportunities in the African countries, the minister said, adding that the participants in the event probed aspects of joint cooperation in order to achieve the goals of sustainable economic development in the continent.
She stressed that the mechanisms of the international funding institutions should run in compatibility with the national priorities and standards that serve the interests of countries.
The forum witnessed inking 30 agreements worth $3.5 billion in the fields of investment, national projects, entrepreneurship, financing small- and medium-scale enterprises, infrastructure and promoting technical cooperation.
The signed agreements reflect the confidence of the investors and international financing institutions in Egypt's economic reform program, investment environment and wise leadership, Nasr affirmed.
The minister read out the recommendations of the forum topped by boosting and activating the participation and cooperation between the public and private sectors especially in the infrastructure, linkage networks, information technology and transport domains.
Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry described Africa 2018 Forum as a "shining beacon" on Africa's annual events agenda.
International development partners and all African countries consider the event as the most important continental forum for leaders, ministers and senior officials concerned with the investment sector and a promising platform for showing commercial investment opportunities in Africa, he added.
This year witnesses historic steps in support of intra-African trade and investment, including the launch of the African Free Trade Area (AFTA), hoped to be put into force in 2019, as well as an active Egyptian role aiming to support continental economic integration, the minister said in a speech at the forum’s closing session.
He called for concerted African efforts to achieve such goals.
He highlighted the role played by the African private sector in boosting intra-African trade and maximizing the benefit of investment opportunities in the continent.
As African governments, we continue to provide the necessary political support through the decision-making organs of the African Union and other regional economic groups, with a view to addressing the real challenges hindering access to the desired development rates in Africa, Shoukry said.
Egypt will make major efforts during its 2019 presidency of the African Union to mobilize collective African efforts and activate the necessary mechanisms needed to soundly address challenges hampering the continent’s development process, including armed conflicts, political crises, proliferation of terrorist groups and organized criminal gangs, illegal migration, high rates of refugees and internally displaced people, he added.
Investing in infrastructure is a key priority for Africa as it will help provide job opportunities and attract investments to its markets, the minister stressed.
He affirmed Egypt's keenness to boost its cooperation and partnership with all sisterly African nations.
Addressing the closing session, President Sisi affirmed Egypt's keenness on promoting its policy of openness to sisterly African countries.
He said that bringing security and stability is the basis of achieving development and addressing political and economic challenges in the African continent.
Sisi also announced the establishment of a fund to provide guarantees against risks for Egyptian businessmen willing to invest in Africa to contribute to achieving development of the continent and take advantage of the enormous opportunities available there.