Leaders of three African countries said that Saudi Arabia could play a pivotal role in the process of transformation and development in the Dark Continent, pointing to the great historical links with the Arab world and the Kingdom in particular.
Speaking on the sidelines of the Future Investment Initiative (FII) currently held in Riyadh, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta said he had a positive discussion with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman about investing in Africa.
“So far we are not real partners. We have to restore old business ties. There are many opportunities that offer mutual prosperity and enable us to move forward as our parents and grandparents did,” he said during a session entitled, the Future of Business in Africa, within the FII forum.
Kenyatta urged the Arab world not to believe what is published in social media and television about Africa being the continent of diseases and wars.
“Can’t you see what the Chinese and the Russians saw? Africa is a land that is transforming, evolving and changing… It is a continent that seeks to overcome conflicts, offer investment opportunities, and end corruption altogether,” he emphasized.
“Let us be able to collaborate with each other as developers and partners. We have cultural similarities with Saudi Arabia and the world,” he added.
According to the Kenyan president, African countries are working hard to fight corruption and boost the investment climate.
“We are focusing on strengthening the anti-corruption tools and the investigation and research departments,” he noted, underlining efforts to speed up the digitization process and to launch an intensive campaign for the population to talk about the negative aspects of corruption and how to combat it.
Nigerian President Mohammed Buhari said that Africa was moving towards peace, stability, and security, which are the mainstay of investment.
He stressed that his country was working hard to fight corruption through accountability and the follow-up on administrative efforts, saying: “We have recovered millions of dollars and assets from outside the country.”
Mohamed Issoufou, President of the Republic of Niger, touched on the African Free Trade Area launched last July.
“This free zone within Africa is the largest in the world for free trade. It is located in a region with one billion consumers, including 300 million from the middle class,” he said.
Issoufou added that Saudi Arabia had an excellent role in Africa in development, health, and education.
“We have strong relations with Saudi Arabia and our cooperation is excellent. We have priority sectors such as infrastructure, while the Saudi Investment Fund is contributing to the construction of the Kainji Dam, which provides energy and electricity,” he remarked.