US-Africa Business Summit: calls for more regional econ integration

By Incorrect Author 6 October 2009

Ghana’s John Atta Mills told the just-concluded, US-Africa biennial business summit that improving living standards was the real justification for staying in office. Regional economic integration was similarly crucial. Mills noted the importance of an “environment to promote business, either locally or to attract foreign direct investment,” which “goes where it is most welcome. The days of xenophobia are over. The issue of regional integration is very important.” Investors want to invest where they find political stability and “an ease of doing business” in a low-cost environment. Rwanda’s Paul Kagame, Fradique Bandeira Melo de Menezes of Sao Tome and Principe, Denis Sassou-Nguesso of the Republic of the Congo and Jean Ping of the African Union Commission joined Mills at the presidential plenary and echoed his Mills’ sentiments. Rwanda’s Kagame — whose government has been voted top world reformer in the World Bank report Doing Business 2010 — noted, “You cannot talk about an increased volume of trade when there are no roads, there are no rails, and there are problems of air transport. You cannot talk about communication unless you are able to put in place the Internet” and make it accessible and linked to international networks.

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