Established in 1992 in Brussels, EMRC is a non-profit International Association composed of a network of entrepreneurs, financiers, consultants and officials based throughout the world. EMRC’s mission is to lead the private sector in Africa to sustainable economic development and to drive regional change via partnerships.
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The Africa Finance & Investment Forum (AFIF) is an annual business event organized in the framework of EMRC International’s activities, aimed at strengthening the private sector in Africa, encouraging entrepreneurship and attracting investment to the African continent. AFIF has a double objective: to strengthen the financial capacities of Africa’s private sector and to promote the creation of new partnerships through the encouragement of joint projects and trade relations North-South & South-South.
Focus is given to “Trade for Growth and Development” as AFIF2013 is inaugurated and held from 13-14 June 2013 in Geneva, Switzerland.
The Africa Finance & Investment Forum 2013 was opened and chaired by Dr. Babacar Ndiaye, former two-term President of the African Development Bank, who told the Geneva audience that this was a significant gathering and a unique moment for all those concerned to focus international efforts to step up inter-regional trade within Africa.
“We must look at the weak links and drive Africa’s regional trade sector. Efforts must be made in terms of financing and providing adequate inroads for millions of Africans wanting to grow their businesses and trade with each other,” he explained.
Speaking to an audience of around 200 participants hailing from all four corners of Sub-Saharan Africa and beyond, Ndiaye highlighted the need for access to finance, foreign and local investment and better local infrastructure He stressed that reinforcing Africa’s competitive edge would help establish African trade at the international level.
Following the Chairman’s inauguration, the presentations and discussions focused on innovative ways to establish coherent policies that allow local communities to achieve levels of regional trade comparable to the rest of the world. The likes of Andre Laude, IFC Chief Investment Officer for Western Europe, and representatives from Afrexim Bank and Angola’s private sector spotlighted their concerns and their vision for the future of the continent.
“Previously, African trade was declining but the tide has been changing and there is a real drive to ensure growth which is imperative for the continent,” argued Laude.
A Nigerian delegation from Bayelsa State showcased a region which, otherwise known for its oil exports, was redirecting its strategies towards agriculture and other sectors to boost local and regional trade. Representatives from the port of Luanda spotlighted an array of projects to ensure the port’s future position as a leading trading zone.
The end of the day came to a conclusion with Claire Matamba, representing Agrimat from Gabon, announced as the winner of the Project Incubator Award. Her tenacity to expand and grow her agricultural project, which she started from the ground up, earned her the top prize and US$5000 in cash prize.
The other finalists included Mahesh Bakaya Director of GWC from Lesotho, Magloire N’Dakon President of Cote D’Ivoire’s Administrative council, Marie and Jacques Engouindi from Congo representing SCS.
To conclude the day of over 400 of B2B sessions and side meetings, Idit Miller, EMRC Vice President and Managing Director reiterated her ambitions for AFIF2013. “The forum will no doubt be an eye-opener in terms of what is happening and what can be achieved within all four corners of Sub Saharan Africa.”
IFC, World Bank and ITC – International Trade Centre (UN) are this year’s knowledge partners. Stakeholders linked to African trade are also present in Geneva, which includes government officials, experts, financiers, entrepreneurs and civil society, such as: Africa Agriculture & Trade Investment Fund (AATIF) – ECOBANK – Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) – Netherlands Development Finance Company (FMO) – UN Conference for Trade & Development (UNCTAD) – AMSCO – LR Group – Origin Group and many others.
For the first time, a pre-conference training session entitled “Presenting a Business Plan to Investors” took place (11-12 June), organised by ITC (UN Agency) experts, making it a unique opportunity for participants to ensure their business reaches the next level.
For more information about AFIF2013, please contact Inês Bastos at email@example.com or visit www.emrc.be