Dubai: The UAE’S 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 has been unveiled at the African Union.

The UAE Minister of State for International Cooperation and Director-General of Expo 2020 Dubai, Reem Ebrahim Al Hashemi, told African Union 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 into one focused entity to assist development and investment. Al Hashemi said: “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.”

Full speed

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,” the minister 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 learnt through our own development, and to target the UAE’s investment into Africa’s digital economy.”