Annan Says Africa Is Investors Paradise

ALGIERS- Algeria (PANA) -- UN Secretary General Kofi Annan Monday told African leaders that the continent remains the most profitable region in the world for Amerian and Japanese investors.
Addressing the 35th OAU summit which opened in Algiers Monday, he said while conflicts in Africa drew world attention, the region's remarkable investment profits remained the best kept secret.
He cited a recent report by UNCTAD and International Chamber of Commerce which showed "that Africa brings a higher return to American and Japanese companies which invest there than any other region of the world.
" "That being the case, why are investors all over the world not beating a path to Africa's door? Because Africa's profitability is one of the best kept secrets in today's world economy," he stated.
However, he added, the problem "is that chief executives of multinational companies never look in detail at the prospects of any African country.
" "They know Africa only from a few headlines or the odd minute of television news, which show a continent disfigured by conflicts," Annan said.
"They see a continent in crisis.
That is the image we are up against.
For many African countries it is a distortion," he added.
"For others, it has a basis in reality.
All of us have an obligation to help change that reality, and a strong interest in doing so.
"Meanwhile, Annan also told the leaders that Africa loses 5,500 people daily due to AIDS.
He said the grim statistics also showed that every minute, four young Africans are infected with the HIV, the virus that leads to AIDS.
Annan urged the leaders to fight the syndrome because AIDS kills those whom society relied on to run the countries of Africa.
"We, Africans, have to fight back.
We have to face unpleasant facts and confront them head on," he told the summit.
"If you do that, you will not be alone.
The UN and its funds and programmes are working alongside you.

12 july 1999 09:29:00

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