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Investment for Africa takes shape in Lugano

The Lugano conference hopes to mobilise foreign capital to aid development in Africa

(swissinfo.ch)

Investing in Africa is the focus of a key development meeting in the Swiss city of Lugano, attended by African heads of state.

Among those expected to attend Saturday's summit are the presidents of Kenya, Senegal and Mozambique.

The summit is organised by the New Partnership for Africa's Development (Nepad). One of Nepad's main goals is to make the continent attractive to international investors.

Meanwhile, Lugano is hoping to become the site of the organisation's headquarters.

Achieving the vision

Nepad was set up in 2001 to help promote economic growth and development across the African continent.

The Lugano conference is the first event to try to implement the vision and hopes to mobilise foreign capital to aid development.

Heads of state and political representatives from Africa are meeting entrepreneurs and managers of the most important European multinationals.

Some 400 members of the European business community are attending the conference. The Swiss foreign ministry is sending four delegates.

"The main purpose is to create a platform of exchange between African political leaders and European business leaders in order to enhance European investment on the African market," summit spokeswoman, Inès Montali, told swissinfo.

Access to market

Among the topics on the agenda are agriculture and market access for goods produced in Africa.

Delegates will also discuss information and communication technologies; infrastructure, credit and health.

"It is necessary to enhance the flow of investment in Africa in order to vitalise the relationship between Europe and Africa on all levels," said Montali.

"Business-wise, we expect a consolidation of the European presence in Africa which has to be fully satisfactory to both parties."

Global economy

Some experts have expressed fears that Africa is being excluded from the globalisation process.

Nepad wants Africa to seek partnership with the rest of the industrialised world and to be integrated in the global economy.

Organisers of the Lugano conference hope it will become an annual event.

Lugano is keen to be the site of Nepad headquarters. City and canton Ticino officials say Lugano is strategically positioned and could be a point of reference for all African business.

swissinfo

Key facts

The conference hopes to mobilise foreign capital to aid African development.
African heads of state are meeting entrepreneurs and managers of the most important European multinationals.
The Swiss foreign ministry is sending four delegates.

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