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Egypt to host Africa’s top business forum

African business leaders in Egypt for 2016 Forum. The country will also host the 2018 Forum. (FILE PHOTO) 

CAIRO– All business leaders on the continent are set to be in Cairo, Egypt in December for the Africa 2018 Forum.

The Forum is an international, landmark event hosted under the patronage of H.E. Abdel Fattah Al Sisi, President of the Arab Republic of Egypt, aiming to promote greater economic integration through increased investment flows into Africa.

This year’s edition will take place from 8-9 December 2018 in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, and is organised by the Government of Egypt through the Ministry of Investment and International Cooperation – and COMESA Regional Investment Agency.

The two-day event will attract more than 1,000 high-level government and private sector leaders from Africa; policymakers, political leaders; business leaders and CEOs; entrepreneurs shaping the future of the continent; leading women entrepreneurs and business leaders; financial institutions, investment banks and financial services organizations; international organizations and multilateral agencies; advisory and professional services; thought leaders; and leading local, regional and international media.

Presidents Paul Kagame of Rwanda, Mahamadou Issoufou of Niger, Emmerson Mnangagwa of Zimbabwe and Faure Gnassingbe of Togo are expected to attend. Uganda’s woman entrepreneur and chair Zuri Model Farm Limited, Maggie Kigozi will grace the occasion.

The Forum will also host a Young Entrepreneurs Day to showcase emerging business talent from across the continent and a special series of events to celebrate Women Empowering Africa, culminating in a gala dinner. There will also be CEO roundtables where business leaders will discuss how the continent can unlock more investment opportunities and jointly develop solutions to foster greater private sector growth. A Deal Room will offer a tailored platform to connect selected companies with capital, while special partner events will focus on issues relating to infrastructure, finance and energy.

According to a welcome message to the delegates released in Cairo on Thursday, President Fattah Al Sisi, said: “Africa 2018 Forum will focus on success stories while drawing lessons from the past. This will help us design solutions to spur investment, and to accelerate job creation and more inclusive growth.”

He further said the Forum will also provide a good opportunity for all participants to share their best practices in order to mutually benefit from the diverse experiences and backgrounds that Africa enjoys.

With Egypt taking over the chair of the African Union next year, this promises to be an event that will help shape Africa’s agenda in 2019. The unique business-to-business and business-to-government platform will offer an outstanding venue to share knowledge, network and capture key insights into industry dealings and investment opportunities across the continent.

This year’s Forum will focus on fostering intra-African investments and plans to create the world’s largest trading bloc of about 1.2 billion people. The gathering will offer an ideal opportunity for business leaders, policymakers and government representatives to discuss the wide-ranging measures required to facilitate deeper regional economic integration. Special focus will be given to the role of the private sector as a catalyst for driving sustainable economic development and investment within an Africa-wide trade bloc.

It is noteworthy that despite adverse global economic headwinds, African economies have proved to be resilient and remain among the most attractive destinations for global investment. Nevertheless, there remains a need for doubling our common efforts to deepen economic cooperation and integration in order to achieve the development and progress to which our African nations aspire.

Egypt recently adopted significant reforms to improve their business environment and overall country competitiveness. They are in the midst of implementing a comprehensive development programme aimed at addressing structural imbalances, restoring macroeconomic stability, promoting growth and job creation and building knowledge-based industries, among others.

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