Pretoria — Malagasy President Henry Rajaonarimampianina has urged South African businesses to invest in Madagascar.
President Rajaonarimampianina said his country, which has recently come out of political instability, is in urgent need of investment.
"Our ambition is one, and that is to improve the lives of our citizens. We call upon the South African business community to partner with us in this goal. We are here to give you compelling reasons to invest in Madagascar," said President Rajaonarimampianina.
The conference was hosted by the Department of Trade and Industry (dti) in partnership with the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) and the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) in Pretoria.
The Malagasy President told those attending the first day of the conference that his country is perusing mutual beneficial cooperation with prospective investors with the view to creating jobs that will benefit citizens of both countries.
Madagascar's vision is to have sustainable development, with President Rajaonarimampianina highlighting sectors that are critical to changing the country's growth trajectory. These include energy, infrastructure, tourism and mining.
To date, energy demand in Madagascar currently exceeds supply in that only 23% of the population has access to electricity. President Rajaonarimampianina has invited South Africa to get involved in large projects such as mining and the textile sector, all of which require ports, roads and railways in which South Africa could invest.
Meanwhile, Acting Chief Executive Officer of Trade Invest South Africa (TISA), Lerato Mataboge, said the only hope for realising the 'Africa Rising' narrative lies in ensuring that Africans invest in each other's economies for the transformation, participation and economic emancipation of its people.
Mataboge said South Africa is committed to increasing the levels of South African investments in the Malagasy economy.
"This Madagascar Investors Conference takes place at an opportune time in the political economy of the African continent. Almost all African economies have prioritised industrialisation more broadly and manufacturing specifically as the key for unlocking job creating growth potential of Africa," said Mataboge.
The conference is due to conclude on Thursday, with business to business meetings between South African business and their Malagasy counterparts.
The two countries are keen to facilitate investments to each other's markets.