Tanzania Daily News (Dar es Salaam)

Africa: Mkapa Calls for Countries to Invest in Women

Arusha — Former President Benjamin William Mkapa on Wednesday pushed for investment in women, saying it was high time women took over the economic management in Africa as the only remaining hope to rescue the continent from slump and guaranteeing the future.

Mr Mkapa was speaking at the climax of the three-day special Investment Climate Facility (ICF) Summit here. The former president and his Botswana counterpart Festus Mogae were among the panelists.

Mr Mkapa said he was happy that under his leadership, the country made great economic strides but times have changed and as days go by, the best investment any country can make is to place all resources on women and youth.

The former head of state insisted that women were much better at managing finances while the youth, in addition to being more energetic, were also a larger working force. The ICF Summit, preceded by a number of meetings and exhibitions since Monday, brought in Arusha some 200 participants, including leaders, government representatives and decision makers from African countries as well as donor communities.

The first two days of the summit were devoted to practical and live demonstrations of projects by respective countries. They showcased the results of ICF's approach that entails working in close partnership with the private sector and client governments.

The plenary sessions focused on a number of topics including that on Starting up a Business in Africa, registration, permits and related job creation where it came to light that it was not possible to form a business within 60 minutes, anywhere on the continent; another major setback in investment.

ICF Chief Executive Officer Omar Issa said Mr Mkapa led the summit discussions in his capacity as co-founder of the ICF for Africa. ICF is an international development organisation that works with African governments to improve the climate of investments to facilitate growth of all levels of businesses.

"In Tanzania for instance, the ICF works with the Tanzania Police Force to ensure transit goods move quickly and safely between Dar-es-Salaam and Rusumo (where Tanzania borders Rwanda) and therefore reducing transportation costs," explained Ms Eunice Urio, the ICF communications Manager. The police roadblocks on Tanzanian highways have since been reduced from nearly 60 in the past, to only 15 at the moment.

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