ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, November 6, 2012/African Press Organization (APO)/ – The 3 day 5th African Private Sector Forum was launched today in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire with strategic aims to promote investment and trade through partnerships and joint ventures between the African Union Commission’s (AUC) Member States, the Middle East and the world at large in key sectors such as infrastructure development, transportation, telecommunication amongst others.
Held under the theme “The Role of Private Sector in Promoting Investment and Agro-Industry in Africa”, the annual Forum will bring the African and Arab business communities on one platform to explore business opportunities, focusing primarily on how the private sector actors from both regions can forge sustainable partnerships with a view to enhancing mutually beneficial trade and investment relations.
Welcoming the participants and underscoring the fact that the “the Forum has attracted private sector actors from the Middle East and India, H.E. Dr. Maxwell M. Mkwezalamba, AUC Commissioner for Economic Affairs highlighted that “Given the nature of the African economy, the future of Africa is inextricably linked to its performance and success in the agricultural sector; Small wonder, the Comprehensive African Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) was endorsed by African Heads of State and Government in 2003.”
The Forum will also focus on engaging the private sector in the new African Solidarity Initiative (ASI) which provides an opportunity to mobilize, from within the continent, support for African countries emerging from conflicts, consolidate and expand intra-African co-operation and mutual self-help, in line with the AU Policy on Post-Conflict Reconstruction and Development.
Other key items on the agenda include Africa’s Private Sector and Agro-Industry Situation and Perspectives; Capital Markets Development and Productive Investment in Africa; Post 2015 MDGs Development Agenda; On-going Initiatives in Africa with Partners and Emerging Economies to Strengthen the African Private Sector; Initiatives for Youth Entrepreneurship; The Role of Women in Agri-Business Development.
To pursue the ultimate goal of creating and enabling an environment for business activity, he mentioned the “need to work together in ensuring macro-economic stability in our economies; investing in infrastructure and reforming regulations to lower the cost of doing business; increasing the access to education for would-be entrepreneurs to help foster the emergence of a broad-based business class across Africa; promoting the emergence of effective judiciary systems; and promoting good governance, the rule of law and respect for human rights”
Concluding his remarks, the AUC Commissioner informed the Forum on the 50th Anniversary of the AU to be held in May 2013 and invited the African Private Sector to participate and popularize the event.
In his statement, Mr. Lom Aboubacry, regional Director of the United Nations Commission for Economic Affairs (UNECA), acknowledged the important role the private sector played the past ten years in promoting economic growth within Africa and highlighted the need for integrated and supportive policy reforms that take into consideration the fundamental element of Global Value Chains and their assessment through comparative advantages. He also reemphasized the need for social and economic accountability within the sector.
H.E.M. Daniel Kabian Duncan, Minister of State, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Cote d’Ivoire on his part wished participants fruitful deliberations and officially declared the Forum open.
The Forum will be a suitable opportunity to meet key actors from global industries and draw attention to the challenges and opportunities in various sectors as well as provide a platform for engagement with policy makers, including the AUC, Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and Member States. It will also feature some national and regional project portfolios with regional investment and export trade opportunities that require international cooperation and partnerships.
Present among others: the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development (KFAED); the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FCCI); and the International Trade Centre (ITC).
African Union Commission (AUC)