African business leaders plan deeper ties at Algiers investment forum

African states must look to their own talents and work more closely together if the continent is to progress, Algeria’s prime minister tells business leaders at an Algiers investment forum.

ALGIERS, ALGERIA (DECEMBER 3, 2016) (REUTERS)- More than 800 business leaders from 40 African countries are attending an investment forum in Algiers, as part of moves to deepen economic ties across the continent.

In a keynote speech, Algerian Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal told the African Investment and Business Forum the continent had to rely on its own ingenuity and skills in order to improve Africans’ lives.

The three-day meeting, which began on December 3, was attended by the World Bank and major financial institutions from Africa and the Arab world.

Sessions focused on developing the continent’s energy, investment finance, infrastructure, agriculture and agribusiness sectors.

Host Algeria in July has already moved to boost its business environment.

In July it passed a new law offering tax breaks and cuts to bureaucracy as part of efforts to attract funds to its non-oil sector.

Algeria wants to diversify away from oil and gas, which provide 60 percent of state budget funds, as oil is currently trading at around half the level of mid-2014.

Among those attending the forum was Taib Ezzraimi, CEO of agribusiness group SIM.

“The aim of our participation is to forge business relationships with our African friends and brothers,” Ezzraimi said. “Our African brothers will, I think, be listening, and we will be listening to their needs, because we have exhibited our products and we are expecting a great deal from this forum, from this meeting,” he added.

Other participants said they were open to new opportunities across the continent and aimed to deepen existing ties wherever possible.