‘African Davos’ to fo­cus on the up­beat eco­nomic fu­ture of the con­ti­nent

The China Post - - WORLD BUSINESS -

Grow­ing op­ti­mism over Africa’s eco­nomic fu­ture is set to draw more than 1,250 del­e­gates from gov­ern­ments and in­ter­na­tional cor­po­ra­tions Wed­nes­day to the three-day “African Davos” in Cape Town, the World Eco­nomic Fo­rum said.

The off­shoot of the an­nual WEF meet­ing in the Swiss re­sort of Davos, which brings public and pri­vate busi­ness lead­ers to­gether, is cel­e­brat­ing its 25th an­niver­sary with an up­beat out­look as growth across Africa out­strips the global av­er­age.

“The record lev­els of par­tic­i­pa­tion at this year’s gath­er­ing can be seen to re­flect both an op­ti­mism in the eco­nomic prospects of the re­gion and an un­prece­dented com­mit­ment ... to pur­sue public-pri­vate co­op­er­a­tion,” the WEF said.

A re­port to be pre­sented to the con­fer­ence by in­ter­na­tional in­vest­ment com­pany JLL says Africa sits at the cen­tre of many cor­po­rate growth strate­gies.

“Over the past decade and a half alone, Africa’s econ­omy has grown nearly three per­cent­age points faster than global GDP,” the re­port notes.

“Fu­eled by an in­flux of FDI (for­eign di­rect in­vest­ment), rapid ur­ban­iza­tion and an emerg­ing mid­dle class, African coun­tries, in­clud­ing Mozam­bique, Zam­bia and Ethiopia, are fore­casted to grow at a faster rate than many other emerg­ing economies.”

It points out that while min­ing, oil and gas re­main a fo­cus in Africa for over­seas in­vestors, busi­ness ser­vices now top the FDI sec­tor list, fol­lowed by man­u­fac­tur­ing and sales, mar­ket­ing and sup­port in­dus­tries.

Re­tail and con­struc­tion also fea­ture in the top 10 amid a surge in re­sponse to the de­mands from ur­ban­iza­tion and con­sumer spend­ing.

The theme of this year’s meet­ing, which will be at­tended by del­e­gates from 75 coun­tries and runs from June 3-5, is “Reimag­in­ing Africa’s Fu­ture.”

In ad­di­tion to some 90 se­nior gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials — in­clud­ing South Africa’s Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma — the meet­ing will also draw a record num­ber of rep­re­sen­ta­tives from 83 lead­ing in­ter­na­tional com­pa­nies.

Be­yond the is­sues of mar­kets and devel­op­ment, the con­fer­ence will fea­ture ses­sions on crit­i­cal sub­jects such as migration, com­bat­ing ter­ror­ism and har­ness­ing Africa’s in­for­mal econ­omy.

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