African Development Bank Annual Meetings 2024 – African Development Bank Secretary-General joins South African leaders to highlight investment opportunities of expanding Brics Alliance

The BRICS alliance, together with the new member additions, provides enormous trade and investment opportunities for the African continent, Prof. Vincent O.

Nmehielle, Secretary General of the African Development Bank Group, said at an event on the sidelines of the 2024 African Development Bank Annual Meetings in Nairobi Monday, May 27.”These countries are emerging economies with a growing middle class and a sizeable consumer market; expanding into these markets will lead to growth opportunities for the continent,” Nmehielle said.

The BRICS Business Breakfast, organized by the South African Chapter of the BRICS Business Council and Brand South Africa, brought together key leaders and policy makers to discuss trade and investment opportunities for Africa with a particular focus on the role of the BRICS nations and their potential partnerships with African countries.

BRICS, a group of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, has recently expanded its membership to take in new African members, Egypt and Ethiopia, as well as Iran, Argentina among others. The expansion, known as BRICS Plus, strengthens ties between BRICS and Africa.

Busi Mabuza, President of the South African Chapter of the BRICS Business Council, highlighted the platform BRICS Plus provides to explore and exploit available opportunities.

“The BRICS Plus countries, as you know, are in the main emerging economies with a growing middle class and a significant consumer market. So for us, this business expanding into these markets can lead to growth opportunities for our continent,” Mabuza noted.

The business breakfast featured presentations and panel discussions that explored current trade patterns, strategies to leverage the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), and the challenges and opportunities of attracting private capital.

Mpumi Mabuza, acting CMO of Brand South Africa, said the country’s growing green economy accounts for 75% of FDI in the southern African region, with 157 investment projects and a total capital investment of $27 billion, creating 15,000 jobs.

She also outlined South Africa’s Country Investment Strategy (CIS), which identifies five frontiers of strategic investment opportunities: green hydrogen, next-generation digital services, special economic zones, industrial cannabis, and hyper-scaling environmental, social and governance (ESG) impact investments. Emphasizing the importance of addressing trade barriers and deficits, Nmehille said: “By tackling barriers such as bilateral investment agreements, we can improve our export and import performance.” He also highlighted the need for knowledge sharing and the transformation of education and skills development, especially in light of the growing influence of AI.

The Secretary-General pointed out the significant infrastructure and investment deficit on the African continent, estimated at between $70 billion and $100 billion annually, and the strategic role BRICS Plus can play in bridging this gap. He emphasized the importance of cooperation between the New Development Bank, the African Development Bank and the UN to jointly identify, prepare and co-finance projects in countries of common interest.

On the topic of energy transition, Nmehielle stressed the need for African countries to partner with BRICS Plus to achieve a fair and just transition. “Africa’s South Africa’s chairmanship of BRICS in 2023 under the theme ‘BRICS in Africa: Partnerships for Mutually Accelerated Growth, Sustainable Development and Inclusive Multilateralism’ highlighted this crucial aspect,” he added.

The event served as a platform to promote dialogue and explore opportunities for increased cooperation between BRICS nations and African countries. As the business breakfast concluded, participants expressed optimism about the potential for BRICS partnerships to drive transformative investment in key sectors such as infrastructure, energy and connectivity, ultimately contributing to a more prosperous and integrated Africa.

The African Development Bank’s annual meetings in 2024 will run from 27-31 May in Nairobi. Click here for more information.

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