Nine Heads of States likely to at­tend Egypt’s Africa 2018 Fo­rum

Next year, in 2019, Pres­i­dent Ab­del Fat­tah Al-Sisi will take over chair­man­ship of AU

The Daily News Egypt - - News -

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 in­Africa 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.

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