Africa should not sell its soul while seeking new investors for growth, Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba has said.
“Africa must seek greater benefits from the Brics forum, and yet we must not sell our soul in order to seek investment,” he said today in Sandton, northern Joburg.
Brics is a trade agreement between Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. They provided cofinancing for certain infrastructure projects.
Speaking at the Infrastructure Africa Conference, Gigaba said African countries were making great economic strides despite global problems, with overall growth for the continent projected at an unprecedented 6%.
The two drivers for growth were commodity exports and the growth of a middle class. This was, however, not sustainable without investment in the development of manufacturing and infrastructure.
When seeking investors, companies should look beyond the traditional – Anglophile and Francophile investors – and consider forging links with other African countries.
He urged delegates to dramatically increase intra-African trade.
“We should trust each other,” he said.
He noted that China was the leading trade partner in Africa, surpassing the US.
Chinese investment had brought great investment and growth. However, many agreements had not been negotiated to include other benefits to local societies.
He spoke to “armies” of Chinese workers arriving to install infrastructure as fast as possible, because countries were not negotiating this aspect of a contract.
He warned that infrastructure development needed to be properly coordinated.
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