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Africa told to team up or miss the development train

afrol News, 3 March - The UN Under Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Africa, has urged African countries to team up and work together because the "transformation of Africa is beyond the resources and capacities of individual countries and companies".

Speaking at the 5th World Business Congress and the 1st IGAD Investment Forum in Addis Ababa today, Abdoulie Janneh, said that Africa's development "requires coherent action and closer integration of countries, which in turn calls for greater collaboration by all countries within specific sub-regions".

Coming amidst fears that the current crisis could affect growth, trade, investment flows, trade credits, remittances, tourism and shortfalls in public revenues, Mr Janneh laid out his vision on what African countries needed to do to keep their economies on the positive growth curve.

He focused on integration, explaining that Africa must accelerate the pace of regional integration so as to provide basis for competitive markets and diversification of its production structures.

He argued that, "for the business sector in Africa to grow and contribute to poverty reduction and economic development, domestic investment as a proportion of GDP must improve from an average 18% in Sub-Saharan Africa to between 25% and 30%, which is the average rate in East Asia ".

Mr Janneh also called on the congress to look into the impact of this crisis on the fight against poverty and the on-going effort to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.

The African World Business Congress is one of the key continental business events and has held annually in Dakar, Senegal (2004), Accra, Ghana (2005), Bamako, Mali (2006 and Arusha, Tanzania (2007) respectively.

It brings together over 500 participants, on the average, from all over Africa and worldwide for business contacts and strategic planning.

This year, the AWBC 2009 is being held concurrently with the 1st IGAD (Intergovernmental Authority on Development) Investment Forum and the Government of Ethiopia is hosting both events at the UN Conference Centre.

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