By ; Saber Mohamed
The UAE’S Consortium for Africa, a new initiative with a committed investment of USD 500 million to help fulfil the vision of a ‘turbocharged’ and connected new Africa, driven by its youth, has been unveiled at the African Union (AU).
The UAE Minister for International Cooperation and Director General of Expo 2020 Dubai, Her Excellency Reem Al Hashimy, told members that the Consortium would be a long-term builder of human capital on the continent with two immediate priorities: digitisation and youth.
She said the Consortium would align the UAE government and its private sector’s commitment to Africa, combining ambition for progress, and resource to support it, into one focused entity to assist development and investment, contributing to an optimistic new future vision for Africa and with Africans.
Her Excellency Reem Al Hashimy explained: “More than simply donor or a provider of concessionary loans, the UAE understands that real value lies in the long-term building of human capital. And we are committed to helping deliver the apparatus in which start-ups can thrive, entrepreneurs can lead, and young people can look forward with optimism to a future that is firmly in their control.”
The focus on digitisation and youth would ensure that “our young and talented populations are not overwhelmed by, but embrace, the opportunities of the future”, Her Excellency added.
“We have listened closely to what you have told us, as a continent represented by the African Union, and as nations that make up its member states. And we have heard your call to the UAE: to draw on lessons learned through our own development, and to target the UAE’s investment into Africa’s digital economy,” Her Excellency continued.
The UAE has been an active partner on the continent throughout its 49-year history, investing billions during that time and by 2016 was the second largest investor country in Africa, with support for a wide variety of projects including roads, bridges and ports, schools, clinics and hospitals.
The Consortium for Africa would ensure a more consolidated, adaptive and impactful support in the future, said Her Excellency, who was the first UAE Minister to address the AU with a speech to its Executive Council at its headquarters.