African Business Leaders to meet in Kigali over continent’s economic integration

African Business Leaders to meet in Kigali over continent’s economic integration

By Jean-Pierre Afadhali

Thousands of African business leaders are set to gather in Kigali in March to discuss economic integration on the continent.

According to the event organizers, the 7th edition of the largest international meeting of Africa’s private sector will be held on March 25 and 26 in Kigali, Rwanda.

Africa CEO Forum 2019 will bring together 1,500 business leaders to discuss ways to “make African economic integration a reality”.

Organizers said leading decision-makers from industry, finance and politics, will come from more than 70 countries to discuss regional integration along with other key topics for the development of Africa’s businesses.

“At a time when intra-continental trade remains too weak, Africa’s most influential business leaders have decided to come together and make their voices heard,” read a statement released on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Rwandan president Paul Kagame has called for increased private investment in Africa.

Kagame, the current chairman of African Union who is attending the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland said on Wednesday: “increased private investment in technology and industrialization will help put Africa to balanced and sustained development,”

The CEO forum goal is to make the implementation of the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) a powerful driver for private sector growth and the emergence of new African champions.

According to AU, the Objectives of the CFTA are to create “a single continental market for goods and services, with free movement of business persons and investments, and thus pave the thus pave the way for accelerating the establishment of the Continental Customs Union and the African customs union.”

Some of themes to be tacked by Africa’s private sector delegates include private sector mobilization around cross-border infrastructure and logistical projects.

Delegates also hope to learn from the East African Community  considered  as “ the most successful regional model ” and  deliberate on what a united Africa do to better protect its interests and industries.

Through some forty panel discussions, case studies, testimonies, public-private workshops and thematic working groups, the business leaders will come to grips with these key topics while continuing to explore the other major challenges for the development of Africa’s private sector.

Other issues to be discussed  includes women leaders’ access to the boardroom, the growth potential of Africa’s tourism industry, banking penetration in the digital age, regional agribusiness markets, and the governance of family firms, read a press release.

For the past six years, the Africa CEO Forum is said to have been the largest international gathering of African private sector decision-makers and financiers.

At its previous edition in Abidjan in March 2018, it brought together 1,500 business leaders, public decision-makers and investors from Africa and around the world for two days of discussions around the need to transform African champions in the face of international competition.

The Forum is organized by Jeune Afrique Media Group, publisher of Jeune Afrique and The Africa Report, and by Rainbow Unlimited, a Swiss company specializing in the organization of economic promotion events.

 

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