Foreign direct investments in Africa could boost national industry champions if foreign firms invested in human resource development in order to transfer knowledge and technological skills to local players, according to a senior official of the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA).
Antonio Pedro, Director of the Kigali-based ECA Sub-Regional office for Eastern Africa (SRO-EA), has said that investments and resources spent on growing national champions would pay off in long-term wealth accumulation and would promote infrastructure that enhances the quality of life and provide opportunities for diversification.
“In the emerging new economy, national champions have become strategic partners for better and inclusive transformation. Our countries have to position them to be major players for sustainable prosperity with the view to own our development process”, Pedro told ambassadors and senior government officials from the sub-region.
Representatives of DR Congo, Kenya, Rwanda, Somalia, Tanzania and Uganda met with staff members of the ECA Office in Kigali to discuss the groundings for the 18th Eastern African Session of the Intergovernmental Committee of Experts (ICE) to be held in Kinshasa in February 2014.
The meeting has resolved to deepen reflections on how to promote national champions and the role of FDI in establishing local firms and fostering structural transformation agendas.
These reflections, the ECA said Friday, will inform the theme of the ICE session, which is ‘National Champions, FDI and Structural Transformation in Eastern Africa’.
On the margins of the Kinshasa ICE meeting, ECA will also organise three ad-hoc experts group meetings on: ‘Bilateral Investment Treaties (BITs) and National Champions’, ‘Leveraging New Trading and Investment Partnerships for Diversification in Eastern Africa: The Role of Emerging Markets’ and ‘Fostering Regional Integration for Improved Social Cohesion’.
The ICE is a statutory organ of the ECA Office for Eastern Africa and it meets annually to discuss key issues pertaining to the economic and social development of the sub-region.