Africa looks for ways of sustaining growth
Top African political and business leaders meet in South Africa for the World Economic Forum on Africa to discuss steps to sustain the current economic growth on the continent and launch a public-private partnership that aims to address the root causes of poverty. More than 700 participants are expected at the forum, which runs from 31 May to 2 June in Cape Town under the theme "Going for Growth".
Africa's top business, political and civil society leaders will identify priorities and actions to sustain and build upon current economic successes on the continent. African economies are estimated to have grown by an average five percent per annum in the past few years. Delegates will look at ways to work with business to encourage a change of perception on Africa. The delegates will consider how a legacy of negative perception has hindered growth in Africa and how to use the continent's comparative advantages to push forward its development agenda. They will take an in-depth look at countries and sectors that are performing well with the objective of learning from these.
They will also address the risks involved in driving growth and development and assess new opportunities for growth in Africa. The relationship with China and India will come under the spotlight, with a view to exploiting the opportunities available in these countries. "The World Economic Forum on Africa will focus on the individual success stories driving growth and discuss ways to scale up these pockets of success," said Haiko Alfred, director for Africa of the World Economic Forum. He noted that business has a key role to play in building credibility of reform and re-branding efforts, "not least to counter the 'collective contagion' still afflicting Africa."
Among the high profile participants at the World Economic Forum on Africa will be South African President, Thabo Mbeki, Mozambique's President, Armando Emillio Guebuza, and President Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania. Other delegates will include Gobind Nankani, World Bank vice president for Africa; Erastus Mwencha, secretary-general of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa; Naill Fitzgerald, chairperson of Reuters; chief executive officers of many leading businesses in Africa; government ministers and central bank governors.
The forum will also launch a public-private partnership to reduce chronic hunger. The business alliance between companies and hunger experts will design a model for businesses to work together in addressing the root causes of hunger. It is anticipated that this will be done through encouraging and supporting small-scale operations in rural areas through the provision of micro finance opportunities and training in the operation of small and medium-scale businesses together with the expansion of the rural market system.
The highlight of the event will be a globally televised World Debate from the 2006 forum. It will focus on the future of African growth.
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