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Monday, March 9, 1998 Published at 04:59 GMT



Business

Africa focuses on business
image: [ Africa has traditionally been exploited for its mineral wealth ]
Africa has traditionally been exploited for its mineral wealth

The Addis Ababa Economic Forum has opened under the theme: Trade and investment in Africa. The two-day forum, which began on Sunday in the Ethiopian capital, heard a keynote address from the Ugandan President, Yoweri Museveni.

President Museveni said he was happy to note that the participants had gathered in Addis Ababa to discuss business and not politics, and said investment is the shortest route to development.


[ image: The Ugandan President, Yoweri Museveni, says investment is the key]
The Ugandan President, Yoweri Museveni, says investment is the key
Mr Museveni told the forum participants - some 300 financiers and businessmen from all over the world - that the time had come to solve the problems of non-development of African countries.

He said the people of Africa were convinced that the private sector was the way to the development of their country.

He assured the forum that investors were very welcome in Uganda, adding that the only observances required of them was that they did not produce poisonous substances for the public and that they did not damage the environment.

Mr Museveni commended the World Bank and the IMF for their valuable advice, which, he said, had drawn them to work together with Uganda successfully, leading to a major economic achievement.

The forum is the brainchild of Ethiopian-born Saudi financier, Sheikh Mohamed Hussein Al Amoudi. It is sponsored by 14 international firms, including his Midroc Corporation, which has just opened the Addis Sheraton, the first five-star luxury hotel in sub-Saharan Africa.


[ image: Conflict in places like Sudan have tended to dissuade investors]
Conflict in places like Sudan have tended to dissuade investors
Vernon Jordan, senior partner with the Washington, law firm Akin Gump and confidant of President Bill Clinton, is scheduled to speak during the forum.

In addition to Midroc and Akin Gump, other sponsors include YNNA, the Moroccan holding company, Occidental Petroleum Corporation, the US Corporate Council on Africa and the Washington-based Global Coalition on Africa.

According to the 1997 World Trade and Investment Report by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, global foreign direct investment rose by 10% in 1996 to a record $349bn.

But Africa's share of that was only $5.3bn or 1.5% of the total - the continent's lowest since the early 1980s.








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