Get Africa into Fortune 500 list in 10 years – AU Chief tasks private sector
By Tony Opara
As AfCFTA gathers momentum, a call has gone out to the African private sector to ensure that the continent gets into the Fortune 500 list in 10 years time.
The call is coming from Albert Muchanga, the Commissioner for Trade and Industry at the African Union Commission who has been at the forefront of the implementation of the landmark African Continental Free Trade Area, AfCFTA which moved onto its operational phase in July 2019.
The Fortune 500 list is an annual ranking of the great leaders and leading firms in the business arena and Muchanga made his call as the AfroChampions Initiative presented its $1trn AfCFTA investment framework at an event in Kigali, Rwanda.
Commenting on the initiative, Muchanga, who was particularly impressed that ‘the launch of the trillion dollar investment framework is driven by the private sector, affirmed:
“With this initiative the private sector is sending a very clear signal that is willing and ready. I would like to challenge all of you to invest and I would like to challenge the African private sector to be in the Fortune 500 by 2030.
The occasion also doubled as the AfroChampions Initiative’s second conference on sustainable green growth and industrialisation.
The initiative, which is organized as a set of public-private partnerships designed to leverage resources and funds to create more multinational corporate champions in Africa, has undertaken to raise funds to support the goals of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
Tagged the second ‘boma’, the Swahili word for traditional community gathering, the forum is structured as an interface point for healthy exchange of views, ideas and plans between the private sector, government and civil society.
In his own remarks, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, a former Nigerian president was also quite encouraged by the coming on stream of the initiative and its plans and framework:
“We now have a framework that we can put on the table and say this is what we have to put in place to be able to achieve A, B, C and D. We are able to say yes we want to have $1trn in 10 years. We believe that the money is out there but how do we get that money into Africa.”
Some signature mega projects expected to be undertaken as part of the initiative are the Djibouti to Dakar railway and the Inga Dam project of the Democratic Republic of Congo, DRC.