UN Official Touts Africa as 'New Investment Frontier'

    A busy market in Lilongwe, Malawi. Africa needs fairer access to international markets as well as financial assistance to develop the infrastructure it needs to boost growth, according to U.N. Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro. Photo by: neiljs / CC BY

    Africa needs fairer access to international markets as well as financial assistance to develop the infrastructure it needs to boost growth, according to U.N. Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro, who described the region as a “new investment frontier.”

    “Even though aid is still important for most African countries, the post-independence period has clearly shown that aid alone is not enough,” Migiro said at the 12th World Knowledge Forum in Seoul, South Korea.

    Migiro urged the international community to grant African countries fairer market access that would allow them to export their products without unnecessary trade barriers. She said Africa also needs better and more reasonably priced access to Western technologies, increased funding for infrastructure development, and more policy space to draft its own development path.

    “However, what Africa needs most, is to be recognized as a new investment frontier — where the returns are among the highest in the world,” Migiro said, noting that the region has some of the biggest known reserves of diamond, gold and other mineral resources as well as growing oil potential.

    Migiro added there are signs Africa is “on the eve of an economic renewal” despite the still high levels of poverty in the region. Africa’s expected 6 percent growth rate for 2010 is a “remarkable performance” compared with projections for other economies, she noted.

    “Let me stress one key message: Africa’s people need neither pity nor charity,” Migiro stresed. “Respect, international solidarity and a level playing field will go a long way toward bringing a new dawn to the continent.”

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      Ivy Mungcal

      As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.