African governments and private sector players are set to convene in Egypt for the 2018 edition of a high profile event known as the Africa Forum. The move has been described as a renewed push to foster deeper investments and cross border partnerships across the region.
Thus far, nine Heads of State are expected at the Forum as Egypt takes over chairmanship of the African Union in 2019. Some of Africa’s leading industrialists will be participating in the Forum, which will also host the largest exhibition of African Investment Promotion Agencies.
The organisers of the Africa 2018 Forum have announced that nine heads of state have confirmed their participation as well as some of Africa’s leading industrialists. They had over 4,000 requests for registration with nearly 2,000 expected delegates.
This year, the Forum will put a strong emphasis on youth and women with a day dedicated to entrepreneurship and also a gathering of women empowering Africa.
Speaking on the Forum, the minister Dr Sahar Nasr, whose ministry is hosting the event, emphasized the role of the youth in transforming economies.
“Our country has undergone many reforms to create a more conducive market for investment and to make it easier to conduct business. As a result we’ve seen an upswing in investments. As much as we like seeing large-scale investments what gives me most satisfaction is the entrepreneurial spirit of our youth. In many ways they are at the centre of all our policy reforms,” he explained.
Egypt is one of Africa’s largest economies. The country is projected to see economic growth increase to a little under 6% in 2019. It is home to some of Africa’s largest companies, and many of them have increased their investments outside their borders.
Encouraging intra-African investments and cross border collaboration were cited as two key pillars of the Forum. Earlier this year, the African Development Bank released a report citing that intra-African Greenfield investments reached $10 billion in 2016, up from $4 billion a decade earlier.
Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) Regional Investment Agency (RIA) CEO, Heba Salama, will co-host the Forum. The Forum will bring together the continent’s leading business people and encouraging them to co-invest will only generate more economic activity between the regions and greater regional integration.
“There are no stronger ties that bind two countries together than economic ones. And history has shown that no-one will invest in the continent until we start to do so ourselves. Our role at COMESA RIA is to encourage greater intra-African investments and embolden our captains of industry to explore beyond their borders,” said Salama.
The Forum, which is now in its third edition is expected to be the biggest meeting of leaders from business and government to take place in Africa this year. It will take place on the 8th and the 9th of December, 2018 in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt.