Entrepreneurs push for private-public partnerships to spur ICT investments in Africa

Source: Xinhua| 2017-05-12 04:13:10|Editor: yan
Video PlayerClose

KIGALI, May 11 (Xinhua) -- Entrepreneurs and investors on Thursday called for strong collaboration between public and the private sector to accelerate vibrant Information Communication Technologies (ICTs) investments in Africa.

They made the call on the second day of the third Transform Africa Summit 2017 in the Rwandan Capital Kigali. Rwanda hosts the high level continental summit from May 10 to 12, with a focus on developing "smart Africa cities using the power of technology."

"Investors are willing to invest in viable ICTs in Africa, but are limited by poor partnerships between public and the private sector to enable entrepreneurship flourish. The governments in Africa are reluctant enough to create an enabling environment for digital investments to thrive especially infrastructure," said Ashish J. Thakkar, founder of Mara Group, while speaking at a panel dubbed "Business Leaders' Symposium."

He added that being an entrepreneur in Africa is quite challenging due to various factors, including a bureaucratic obstacles and poor-quality infrastructure for transport, health, education and other areas.

The business leader's panel focused on highlighting challenges and opportunities existing in Africa in an effort to bridge the gap between public policy and the development of the ICT private sector.

Strive Masiyiwa, founder and executive chairman of Econet Wireless, an international telecommunications group, called on African governments to support the formation of public-private partnerships to drive ICT innovation and growth on the continent.

"African economies need to improve the business environment for the private-public partnership to thrive, for instance creating the necessary legal and regulatory framework for the partnerships and as well addressing limited infrastructure and limited financial markets," he noted.

According to the African Development Bank, Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) are one of the best ways to foster development, fuelled by insufficient investment, growing pressures on government budgets and a general concern about service provision by state enterprises and agencies.

"African leaders should spearhead the campaign of creating Public-Private Partnerships in order to fill investment gaps that arise due to lack of enough resources to finance public investments especially ICTs," said Solektra International, Co-founder of Akon Lighting Africa.

Transform Africa Summit is the annual leading African forum bringing together global and regional leaders from government, business and international organizations to collaborate on new ways of shaping, accelerating and sustaining Africa's on-going digital revolution.