The United Arab Emirates (UAE) Consortium for Africa, a new initiative with a committed investment of $500 million to help fulfil the vision of a ‘turbocharged’ and connected new Africa, driven by its youth, was recently unveiled at the recent African Union (AU) summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
This was contained in a statement issued by the UAE Embassy in Abuja. The UAE Minister for International Cooperation and Director-General of Dubai Expo 2020 Reem Al Hashimy, told members of the AU that the Consortium would be a long-term builder of human capital on the continent with two immediate priorities: digitization 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.
“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,” Al Hashimy explained.
The focus on digitization and youth would ensure that “our young and talented populations are not overwhelmed by, but embrace, the opportunities of the future.
“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,” The Minister said.
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 more consolidated, adaptive and impactful support in the future, the Minister, who was the first UAE Minister to address the AU with a speech to its Executive Council at its headquarters, noted.
She also heralded the first participation of the African Union at the Dubai World Expo, 2020, showcasing the continent’s rich history and many achievements within its own pavilion.
For the first time in World Expo’s169-year history, every single participating nation – a record-breaking 192 – will be represented with an individual pavilion of its own at the World’s Greatest Showcase of human brilliance and achievement. Some 25 million visits are expected at the first World Expo in the Middle East, Africa and South Asian region (MEASA).
For six months from 20 October 2020 until 10 April 2021, the UAE will host the world’s largest meeting of minds, welcoming creative critical thinkers to a powerful platform that will shape the future and reveal a raft of opportunities to be explored by – and in – African countries, the statement added.