During the African investment promotion agencies (IPAs) Forum, the Egyptian Junior Business Association (EJB) announced its African Junior Business Initiative.
EJB Chairman Gamal Abou Ali made the announcement, stating that the initiative aims to create partnerships between companies, especially emerging ones, and small and medium enterprises in the countries of the continent.
Abou Ali said during the forum that SMEs, startups, and African youth are key to increased inter-African investments and prosperity.
He added that business associations are best equipped to represent them, with the help of IPAs, regional organization, financing, and investment.
During the conference, Abou Ali served as a speaker in the session “Egyptian Investments in Africa: Opportunities and Prospects for the Future” and moderated the session: “Encouraging African Cross-Border Investments through a Unified Agenda and Intra-Regional Initiatives”.
He praised the Egyptian Government’s efforts to support companies looking to invest in Africa, noting that much of this effort is made by Egyptian Commercial Services, ministries, and sectorial agencies.
According to Abou Ali, the forum sessions showed that there are many promising investment opportunities in the African continent for Egyptian and African investors alike.
He also pointed out to the benefit and importance of having an electronic platform that contains all relevant information about African countries and investment opportunities to achieve integration, and to facilitate and expedite procedures for investors.
Infrastructure has been a common obstacle faced by investors in Africa, according to Abou Ali, however, he said, Egypt and the African continent have been working tirelessly to fix this problem. He also mentioned the logistical areas and ports, pointing out that the more they improve, the greater the volume of trade exchange between the countries of the continent, explaining that infrastructure projects contain investment opportunities, as the private sector will eventually carry out each project.
As for investment opportunities, he said that members of the association see good investment opportunities in that which startups and SMEs can play a major role: agriculture, food processing, training and education, renewable energy, infrastructure, consultancy, and fintech.
EJB’s chairman, and EJB members Bassam Al-Shanwani, Mohamed Abdel Rahman, Mohamed Abou Basha, Nourhan El-Gabaly, Mohamed Saleh, Abdel Rahman Assal, Karim Imam, Sherif El-Gabaly, and Mazen Al-Minshawi held meetings with more than 25 African investment authorities and 6 African organizations and African financing institutions to discuss opening new markets for EJB members and the wider Egyptian business community.
On the other hand, Bassam El-Shanwany, EJB’s Secretary-General, said that EJB’s participation in the forum comes as a continuation of the association’s role and its quest for expansion in Africa and cooperation with all similar associations on the continent, adding, “We seek to implement the association’s plans, which includes promoting investment in Africa through AJBI”.
He added, “The meetings that took place on the sidelines of the forum’s activities will have a great impact on EJB’s plan to promote investment in Africa through AJBI, which was initiated by EJB and fine-tuned following meetings with Egyptian Commercial Services and the Executive Director of the International Monetary Fund earlier.”
Shanwany also said that the EJB delegation met with Mr. Wamkele, the executive director of the new free trade agreement “AfCFTA”, where the two parties agreed to arrange a meeting with members of the association, and answer members’ questions about the agreement, how to benefit from it and the role of the agreement in enhancing and increasing trade between African countries.
Additionally, the delegation met with Tarek Ammar, an expert in private sector projects at the African Development Bank, where they agreed to meet with EJB representatives at the earliest opportunity to discuss the possibility of helping Egyptian companies expand in African countries. Ammar also met representatives of the association with more than 20 African investment authorities, who all welcomed the association’s initiative.