Africa 2018 Forum is expected to witness the attendance of nine heads of states, who have confirmed their participation, as well as some of Africa’s leading industrialists, said a statement from the forum on Wednesday. The forum has over 4,000 requests for registration with nearly 2,000 expected delegates.
The forum will emphasise the role of youth and women this year, with a day dedicated to entrepreneurship, as well as a gathering of women’s empowerment in Africa, noted the statement. Egypt’s Minister of Investment and International Cooperation, Sahar Nasr, whose ministry is hosting the event, emphasised the role of youth in transforming economies, adding, “Our country has undergone many reforms to create a more conducive market for investment, and make it easier for conducting business. As a result, we’ve seen an upswing in investments,”, clarifying further, “As much as we like seeing large-scale investments, what gives me the most satisfaction is the entrepreneurial spirit of our youth. In many ways they are at the centre of all our policy reforms.”
Egypt, one of Africa’s largest economies, is projected to see economic growth increase to a little under 6% in 2019, said the statement, noting that Egypt is home to some of Africa’s largest companies, many of which increased their investments outside their borders.
Encouraging intra-African investments and cross border collaboration were cited as two key pillars of the forum, mentioned the statement, noting that earlier this year, the African Development Bank released a report citing that intra-African greenfield investments reached $10bn in 2016, up from $4bn a decade earlier.
Heba Salama, CEO of COMESA Regional Investment Agency, co-host of the forum, said that by bringing the continent’s leading businesspersons, and getting them to co-invest, will generate more economic activity in the region and promote regional integration. “There are no stronger ties that bind two countries together other than economic ones. 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 industry’s captains to explore beyond their borders,” added Salama.
The forum, in its third edition, is expected to be the biggest meeting of business leaders and government representatives to take place in Africa this year, said the statement, adding that it will take place on 8-9 December in Sharm El Sheikh.
Two days later in Cairo, Egypt will also host the Intra-African Trade Fair, thus hosting two of the continent’s biggest meetings of private sector leaders to confirm the instrumental role it is playing in Africa. Next year, in 2019, President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi will take over the chairmanship of the AU.