“Africa’s new economic environment” is the theme of the 2015 Africa CEO Forum that will take place on March 16-17, 2015 in Geneva. The meeting, which is co-organised by the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the Paris-based magazine group, Jeune Afrique, will focus primarily on development priorities of African businesses.
Some 800 leading decision-makers from Africa and elsewhere, including AfDB President Donald Kaberuka, will be in attendance.
The Forum will be an opportunity for the AfDB, and notably its Private Sector Department, to reemphasize its strategic mandate in partnering with African countries in “doing business”. “Going forward, the Bank is set to grow its private sector portfolio and play a greater co-investment and co-financing role beyond its annual investment target of around US $2 billion per annum,” said Kodeidja Diallo, Director of AfDB’s Private Sector Department.
Africa’s economic outlook will be discussed in depth. Experts and delegates will discuss the growth paths of Africa’s economies over the next five years.
The Forum will also address the subject of Africa’s competitiveness, which is a crucial factor for businesses. The organisers will tackle the issue of the World Bank’s Doing Business index which measures progress in the business environment of 189 countries each year. According to the index, of the bottom 50 countries, 36 are African.
A question to be asked is: Why is Africa lagging behind when Georgia, which is also an emerging economy, has climbed 100 places in eight years and now ranks in the top ten?
The urban explosion in Africa will also be high on the Forum agenda. The focus here will be rather on what percentage of the annual $25-billion consumer market African businesses can tap into, and under what conditions. Discussions will also centre around how African businesses, with their knowledge of transport, and linkages to trade and other sectors, could play a decisive role in structuring African cities and making them more productive.
Through its private sector window, the AfDB invests in infrastructure, financial institutions, industries, agribusiness, manufacturing and service sectors in Africa. It supports African enterprises to become more competitive at home and abroad, while continuing to attract foreign investment. An increasing demand for private-sector participation through innovative partnerships, presents significant opportunities for growth, synergy and impact.