Arusha — The Secretary General of the East African Community, Amb. Dr. Richard Sezibera has reiterated that peace and stability were critical in attracting investments in the Great Lakes Region and that the involvement of the leaders, as well as the United Nations led by the Secretary General and his Special Envoy to the Region was extremely crucial.
Amb. Sezibera, who was yesterday delivering the keynote speech themed Preparing the Ground For Responsible Investment, at the Great Lakes Private Sector Investment Roundtable, held at the United Nation Economic Commission for Africa complex in Addis Ababa, said the Roundtable Dialogue on ways in which corporate activities and responsible investment can advance peace, stability, prosperity and inclusive growth in the Great Lakes region was critical, noting that "within International Conference of the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR), focus is now shifting to investment, this is a major achievement that we should all celebrate".
The Secretary General opined that responsible, targeted investments, during periods of conflict, or in the immediate aftermath, were crucial to ending the conflicts and promoting rapid return to normality and stability.
He noted that promoting cross border investments and ensuring that the benefits of growth are efficiently harnessed and equitably shared was part of the inclusive growth. "Failure to master this imperative is largely the reason behind the endless conflict we have witnessed in the region for years" commented the Secretary General, adding that "we must think differently about investment. We need to think and act regionally and put in place policies that allow for these cross border investments".
He said the ICGLR Region offers immense opportunities for infrastructure, given the Multibillion dollar infrastructure gap and that gap was compounded by a very real skills gap.
Amb. Sezibera affirmed that Governments and the Private Sector need to make sure that skills development was a key component of any major infrastructure investment decision and contracts. "Investments in skilling the region is not a social, benevolent affair on behalf of Government. It is critical for sustainable responsible investment".
The Roundtable dialogue featured a panel of prominent business, development and investment leaders who shared their ideas on the ways in which corporate activities and responsible investment can advance peace, stability, prosperity and economic development in the Great Lakes region.
Examples of successful business and investment practices that bring value financially and in social, environmental and ethical terms were highlighted and discussed. The panelists also shared their views as to how public-private collaboration can contribute to the realization of a shared, secure and sustainable future in the Great Lakes region.
H. E. Hallemariam Dessalegn, Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia was the guest of honour at the official opening of the Roundtable Dialogue.
Other speakers included; Ms. Mary Robinson, Special Envoy of the UN Secretary-General for the Great Lakes Region; Sir Mark Moody-Stuart, Chairman, Hermes Equity Ownership Services and Vice-Chair, UN Global Compact Board; Mr. Elias Masilela, Chief Executive Officer, Public Investment Corporation; Mr. Modibo I. Touré, Assistant Secretary-General and Special Adviser, Office of the Special Envoy of the UN Secretary-General for the Great Lakes Region; and Mr. Georg Kell, Executive Director, United Nations Global Compact.
Owora Richard Othieno,
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Corporate Communications and Public Affairs;
+255 784 835021;
Corporate Communications and Public Affairs Department
EAC Secretariat Arusha, Tanzania