The eastern DRC is vast and endowed with diversified riches in natural resources (fertile land, minerals, forestry, wildlife, and energy) as well as being contiguous to 5 countries of the Great Lakes region (Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania and Zambia), providing significant potential for development, regional cooperation and economic integration. This potential remains under-exploited due a number of factors including, inter alia, poor (physical and economic) infrastructure in the eastern DRC, weak state capacity and persistent insecurity exacerbated by the presence of armed groups and transnational organized crime.
The PSIC is envisaged to serve as an instrument for peace, stability and prosperity for the concerned countries. Private sector actors have an inherent interest in supporting sustainable development. As companies, markets, and economies become more global and interdependent, businesses and investors are becoming increasingly aware of the overlap between public and private interests. The PSIC is expected to generate a pipeline of real investment projects which will lead to sustainable jobs for the citizens of DRC and Great Lakes members States and which can later anchor investments in the targeted sectors.
Businesses are increasingly looking for avenues where they can contribute towards peace building and to guarantee markets, to make positive impact on the economic and social life of local communities, while consolidating and expanding business operations. More companies are taking up the challenge of advancing human rights, environmental protection, anti-corruption and higher labour standards - displaying an ever stronger commitment to corporate sustainability in high-risk areas.
The investment community has enormous potential to drive inclusive growth and support development goals. Moreover, by reinforcing responsible business practices investors have a role to play in ensuring markets adequately reward the sustainable conduct of companies. Such investments could strengthen on-going cross-border trade and economic relations, and thereby lock-in shared prosperity, mutual confidence and collective incentives for ensuring regional peace and stability in the region.
Objectives of the Conference
The Great Lakes Private Sector Investment Conference will bring together select actors from the public and private sectors with current and prospective interest in the region. The dual objectives of the conference in relation to the IOB are:
- For companies and investors operating in the region: the conference will provide them with an opportunity to share best practices and methodologies, learn from peers, gain a broader understanding of the changing political environment as it pertains to private sector development, and finally provide a unique platform for companies to identify commonalities with the goal of maximizing their impacts through collective action efforts.
- For prospective investors with interest in the region: the conference will offer a platform to better understand the prioritization of investment needs, and explore concrete investment opportunities that are available to meet those needs.
The Conference will be aimed at supporting the implementation of the regional action plan by:
- Providing a platform for private sector actors and policy makers at national and regional levels to meet and exchange knowledge, and articulate commitments to improve the investment climate in the region;
- Enhance regional cooperation and commercial integration, and establish an inclusive Great Lakes Private Sector Forum;
- Providing guidance and practical examples for ways in which private investment can lead to achieving development goals such as peace and stability;
- Preparing the ground for potential investments and articulating opportunities, across a range of specific sectors, that can create jobs and livelihoods;
- Provide greater exposure of bankable projects in the region to interested investors.
- Sharing and exchanging methodologies of assessing and evaluating the value and impact of investment.