By Ajong Mbapndah L
With the world still looking at Mali from the prism of security, Moussa Toure General Manager of the Mali Investment Promotion Agency (API in French) says it is time for the narrative to reflect the myriad of opportunities waiting with open arms for investors.
Talking to PAV on the side-lines of the recent Power Africa Summit in Washington, DC, Toure said as the security situation gets better by the day, now is the time for investors to take a fresh look at his country.
Mr. Moussa Toure Good afternoon, and welcome to Washington DC.
You are the Managing director of the Malian Investment Promotion Agency. Can you start by introducing the agency for us, what is it that the agency does?
Thank you for this opportunity, our main role is about promoting Mali as a good destination for investment and to do so, we work on the country’s image, especially with challenges the country is facing with political and Security problems, after that we work to identify investment opportunities, I clear them and find the good investors that can take those opportunities and invest in. When we have some investors interested in some sectors or projects, we assist them in all the process; source information, have meetings with key stake holders and help them ease the investment process. We also work to improve the business climate by leading some reforms.
Before we continue with investment, how is the security situation like in Mali today?
The security situation is still challenging, but it’s not only a problem of Mali, security issues are worldwide today, but Mali is part of that and what is also clear is that we are confident that the most difficult part is behind us. The government is really engaged in taking all necessary actions to tackle this issue. For two years now, the government has been investing 15% of the budget into this activity to harmonize security, this is a big effort and it’s now paying off, it has taken time, but we already are beginning to see the fruits of these efforts.
So, if there were investors who are interested in coming to Mali security is not something that they should worry so much about?
I don’t think so.
Okay, how is the investment climate like in Mali?
The Investment climate is improving, we’ve hurdled to many reforms, we have implemented many in a couple of years, but we still have room for improvement. So this is our focus to still work to improve and facilitate business development and everything around that. As one of our last reform, the government has adopted a new PPPO to facilitate project development by private investors, so this is a good step in Mali.
To the investors out there in Europe, in Washington DC, where you currently are, if they were to come to Mali for investment what are some of the sectors that they should be on the lookout?
for, what are some of the investment opportunities that you have in Mali today?
We are currently focusing our strategy on four main sectors, one is Agriculture, the second is livestock, the third sector is energy, and the last one is infrastructure. We also have the new technology as one of the priority investment sector, but we use it as a transversal sector, because for agriculture, for energy, any sector, you need technology. This is why we don’t list is as a specific sector, but among those four priority sectors we have also sectors we’ve used the opportunity like education, we focus our forces on the four sectors we are talking about; it is our proactive promotion activities.
And it understands that your API organized an investment forum in Mali last December.
How did the forum go?
Quiet well, it was a big change we started to work on this project in 2015, because as I said the country faced political and security problems a few years before, and we saw that it was time to start new projects that will be a vehicle to speak on our country in a positive manner; so we started to work on it, and we were able to achieve our project in December. We held a forum on December 7 and 8 2017, and we attained all of our objectives. We were expecting 500 participants but finally got more than 1000, we were able to amass 70 million dollars in investment as a result of this forum. We had hundreds of B2B meetings, and around 50 Business deals self-driven B2B.
But, I will like to say more importantly of those concrete results, is the image we spread over the world, as I use to say during past years Mali use to be on TV, on newspaper for the wrong reasons; for bad news, but maybe for the first time since a long while Mali was the top of the news on good side; investment side. For me this is mainly one of the most important achievement we’ve made this far, so it was a good initiative and we recorded very good results.
Now, you are currently in Washington DC attending the fourth Annual Powering Africa Summit, how has the summit gone so far you, any interesting contact any good deals in the works for you.
This is my first time of attending this forum, and I was referred by one of my friends who use to attend, and he told me that it’s really interesting, and I came with the curiosity to see. The first day showed me he was right because this forum is a platform where you can meet key actors in the sector which is strategic for all of the continent, and we meet actors who know the continent, they use to operate, they know the challenges and we already have many meetings, B2B meetings and very interesting meetings.
So, any other projects that the API would be working on in the course of the year, any other big project that you have now?
Through the forum, we collected and worked on more than 200 projects, some investment, some technical partners, different needs, and we have all those projects on our website. Some are private and public project or both and we are trying to assist the owners to have finance or technical partners, and we are also assisting the state governors to promote government projects, huge projects like the first bridge in Bamako, the construction of the river bank in Bamako is some interesting project, the roads, rail roads, so many projects currently going on.
Mr. Moussa Toure thank you very much for talking to Pan African visions