The new African Union chairperson, Paul Kagame, kicked off his reign with a Business and Investment Forum where he strongly advocated for active private sector participation in the African governance process.
Kagame in his remarks held that the earlier African governments realised they cannot serve their citizens without private participation, the better. “We need active support from the private sector in fact without your voice something essential is missing.
“I am happy to see that today’s round tables are specific and full of practical detail. This makes it more likely that new public-private partnerships can be forged. We need the private sector’s help in that regard,” he added.
Whiles a number of African leaders caught their flights back home after the summit which closed on Monday, Kagame was joined by Nigerien counterpart Mohammadou Issoufou, Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni and Ethiopian premier Hailemariam Desalegn for the event.
Also present were ECA chief, Veronica Songwe, former Nigerian Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and members of the U.S. Millenium Challenge Coroporation and the Corporate Council for Africa.
The forum was held under the auspices of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and was under the theme: “Transform: Africa Buisness and Investment Summit.” Presidents of Kenya and Senegal had earlier discussed Africa’s power needs under the same banner.
Kagame in his remarks cited instances of how Rwanda had partnered and continued to partner private companies outside to help with service delivery especially in its healthcare sector. “This doesn’t mean we should privatise our healthcare systems, but rather find ways to improve quality and access to healthcare.
“In Rwanda, for example, we have entered into an arrangement with an African company to manage our largest hospital. What is being done there is already showing success,” he added.
According to the ECA, participants of the forum aim at making agriculture attractive and smart for Africa’s youth, averring that if the continent is to lift millions out of poverty, Food security is vital but only achievable with enough engagement and political will.
Namibia Ranked 4th in SADC in Terms of Financial Inclusion
The latest results from the Namibia Financial Inclusion Survey (NFIS) indicate that the country’s banking population increased to 67.9 percent in 2017, up from 45 percent in 2011. In addition, the majority of the eligible banking population, 64.7 percent, said they consider Automated Teller Machines the most comfortable banking channel followed by bank branches at just over 58 percent.
“When comparing Namibia to other countries in the SADC region where the financial inclusion surveys have been implemented, Namibia is ranked fourth in terms of financial inclusion, with Seychelles topping the region,” said Statistician General and CEO of the Namibia Statistics Agency (NSA), Alex Shimuafeni.
The results of the national survey, of which the target population was eligible members of private households, further indicated, at close to 60 percent, that the main barrier to banking was a lack of money for saving purposes while a marginal percentage (0.1 percent) reported the inconvenience of banking hours as a barrier to accessing financial services. The results also showed that the majority of the eligible population (32.5 percent) earns up to N$1000 per month with the main source of income being wages from private companies whilst government or parastatal wages ranked third at 10.3 percent.
In addition, approximately 19 percent of the eligible population reported having borrowed money in the past six months preceding the 2017 NFIS. The main reason for borrowing was for buying food but the main barrier to accessing credit was out of fear of increased debt.
The NFIS 2017 also revealed that close to 13 percent of adults in the country has or used credit or loan products from banks during the six months before the 2017 NFIS. “They could also be using other non-banking credit or loan products and/or borrowed from friends or family, but the defining characteristics are that they borrow (some or all of their credit) from a bank,” explained Shimuafeni.
Business persons in Tanzania pleads for Scrapping of Nuisance Taxes
Business persons in Kilimanjaro Region have pleaded with the government to scrap nuisance taxes and charges saying they are crippling their businesses and undermining growth.
Speaking here during a training to public officials and businesspersons from all districts of Kilimanjaro Region, the businessmen said there multitude of charges which have led to closure of many businesses in the region.