Rethinking Africa’s growth strategy

Economic growth continues to be intimately linked to the importance of political stability and strong social structures

The year 2010 was a milestone for the World Economic Forum’s relationship with the African continent. WEF celebrated 20 years of partnership and engagement in Africa recently with a successful meeting in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. The meeting, held for the first time in East Africa, generated an unprecedented level of participation as 12 heads of state and government and 100 public figures joined over 1,000 business and civil society leaders from 85 countries.

Hosted by President Kikwete in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania and attended by President Zuma of South Africa, the summit was co-chairedby were AjaiChowdhry, founder and chairman of HCL Technologies from India, Jorgen Haslestad, chief executive of Yara International, Anna Tibaijuka from the UN-HABITAT, Pat Davies from Sasol and KuseniDlamini from Old Mutual. Under the theme,“Rethinking Africa’s Growth Strategy", the meeting provided leaders with a platform for facing up to the challenge and using the crisis as an opportunity to redesign a sustainable roadmap for Africa’s future.

Sharing her insight on the positive developments of the meeting, Katherine Tweedie, the World Economic Forum’s Africa Director said, “The strong participation, especially from the international community, was not surprising given the increasing importance of Africa in the post-crisis geopolitical landscape.An investor looking for real growth would definitely be looking at opportunities in Africa.”

Brainstorming on competitiveness

The sessions started with the third annual Africa Economic Brainstorming and then delved into key areas underpinning Africa’s competitiveness, including strengthening its capital markets, growing South-South partnerships and effectively managing global demand for its abundant resource wealth.

“Vital issues underpinning Africa’s growth strategy from energy to infrastructure investments, Africa’s capital markets were touched. A major session on trade was hosted by Pascal Lamy from the World Trade Organization where key participants from government to business looked at Africa’s involvement, particularly from a business perspective in trade policy within the continent and internationally. As such, debate focused on effective models of governance, the future of Africa’s democracies and how best to introduce peace and security to troubled areas,” she said.

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