By Aminaash N.N. Brima, Information Attache Morocco
A four-day Africa-US Business Summit has been held in Marrakech, Morocco. The Summit provided an excellent opportunity to deliberate on the U.S and African public and private sectors renewed commitment to building stronger economic ties, expanding and deepening U.S.-Africa trade relations as well as investment and business relationships.
After six years of operation, Africa50 has become a key player in attracting infrastructure investment on a commercial basis in Africa to bridge the US$108 billion infrastructure gap.
Following the opening ceremony, Africa50 stakeholders gathered for a closed working session where they reviewed Africa50’s activities over the past years, approved financial reports and discussed long-term strategy with management in a way to restore the past glory of Africa.
It comes at a crucial time, especially when the continent including a country like Sierra Leone faces unprecedented external economic shocks and is recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic. The summit is said to be in line with President Bio’s visions towards achieving sustainable development in Sierra Leone.
During the summit, there were calls for strong innovative and bold response to accelerate economic recovery while mainstreaming climate-resilient and sustainable growth in Africa.
It was established during the summit that the private sector has a critical role to play in solving Africa’s greatest challenges, particularly those related to energy, food security, education, health and digital transformation.
Significant progress was made by the Sierra Leonean delegation bridging the gap with stakeholders to support the sustainable financing of the country’s existing infrastructure and bankable projects through the Asset Recycling Program of Africa50, an innovative financing arrangement that secures private equity funding.
According to the Deputy Minister of Finance11, Bockarie Kalokoh, the focus of the two meetings- Africa50 GSM and US-Africa Business Forum in Marrakesh, Morocco was essentially to expand business opportunities and engagements across the continent on a broad range of sectors which include financing, infrastructure, climate, energy, security, agricultural transformation, investing in woman, health outcomes and economic integration.
However, seeking workable solutions to business challenges and opportunities placed under the high patronage of His Majesty King Mohammed VI is in partnership with the African Development Bank, Africa50 and Corporate Council on Africa which was attended by stakeholders, US Government delegation, African Ministers and decision-makers from the largest US multi-nationals and the African Business Community.
According to King Mohamed V1, Sierra Leone’s presence in the summit is to comprehend, leverage and build new partnerships, explore new opportunities and deepen more collaboration with African partners like the African Development Bank, Africa50 and Corporate Council on Africa (CCA).
A closed-door discussion between the Deputy Minister of Finance II, Bockarie Kalokoh and the Chief Executive Officer of Africa50, Alain Ebobisse revealed positive signs that the Bumbuna Hydro Project and a water project would be supported.