Africa’s drive to generate inclusive economic growth and the leadership this requires will be the focus of the 27th World Economic Forum on Africa, taking place in Durban, South Africa, from 3 to 5 May.
The 27th World Economic Forum on Africa will convene over 1,000 leaders from more than 100 countries, representing business, government, academia, civil society, media and the arts for the meeting which is themed “Achieving Inclusive Growth through Responsive and Responsible Leadership”.
In a statement on Friday, WEF said Africa’s imperative was to generate truly inclusive economic growth that “provides everyone with the same opportunity to prosper and achieve”.
WEF said the Durban meeting aimed to move leaders to change the way they approached development planning by designing policies that allowed everyone to benefit from economic growth.
“Until now, the benefits of global economic growth have been disproportionately distributed within regions and countries, which has led to a crisis for market capitalism and a proliferation of populist and nativist political movements.”
The Durban meeting’s other priority is to help Africa prepare for the huge changes the world is about to experience as a result of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. “Rapid technological advances in the physical, digital and biological worlds are giving rise to a new era that will have a profound effect on how humans live, work and interact with one another,” WEF said. “Building the right institutions, developing relevant skills and enhancing access to knowledge will all be crucial to Africa’s future prospects.”
Among the key that issues which will come under the spotlight in Durban are food and water security, preventing the deforestation of tropical forests, securing investment to tackle Africa’s large infrastructure gap, bridging the digital divide, improving delivery of healthcare, helping Africans gain access to financial services, and facilitating better intra-regional trade.
Key participants from the region include South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, King Mswati III of Swaziland, President of Mauritius, Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, President of Zambia, Edgar Chagwa Lungu, President of Uganda, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, President of Mozambique, Filipe Jacinto Nyusi, President of Senegal, Macky Sall, Prime Minister of Swaziland, Barnabas Sibusiso Dlamini, Prime Minister of Namibia, Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila, and Vice-President of Ghana, Mahamudu Bawumia.
Other key attendees to the WEF meeting, include Malusi Gigaba, Minister of Finance of South Africa, Sam Kutesa, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Uganda, Joshua Setipa, Minister of Trade and Industry of Lesotho, Jean Philbert Nsengimana, Minister of Youth and Information and Communication Technology of Rwanda, Siyabonga Cwele, Minister of Telecommunications and Postal Services of South Africa, Tokozile Xasa, Minister of Tourism of South Africa, Rob Davies, Minister of Trade and Industry of South Africa, Claver Gatete, Minister of Finance and Economic Planning of Rwanda, Sidumo Dlamini, President, Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu), Edna Molewa, Minister of Environmental Affairs of South Africa, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, Minister of Health of South Africa, and Mmamoloko Nkhensani Kubayi, Minister of Energy of South Africa.
In addition, leaders from outside the region who will participate, include Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for Economic and Social Policies of Singapore, Wolfgang Schäuble, Federal Minister of Finance of Germany, and Brigitte Zypries, Federal Minister of Economic Affairs and Energy of Germany.
Representatives from international organisations include actor and activist Forest Whitaker, who is the UNESCO Special Envoy for Peace as well as a social activist with the Whitaker Peace & Development Initiative, Mamadou Biteye, Managing Director, Africa Regional Office, of the Rockefeller Foundation, Gilbert Fossoun Houngbo, President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Ellen Agler, Chief Executive Officer of The END Fund, and Mukhisa Kituyi, Secretary-General for the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).
“The best way to secure a sustainable and prosperous future for Africa is to build an economic transformation centred on inclusive growth and equality of opportunity for everyone,” said SA Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba.
“Africa’s leaders must act fast to build strong, inclusive societies capable of prospering in our rapidly changing world. If we create conditions in which everybody is able to prosper, then the 21st century can truly be Africa’s century. If we fail, the region risks falling further behind,” said Elsie Kanza, Head of Regional Strategies: Africa, and Member of the Executive Committee at the World Economic Forum.
The Co-Chairs of the World Economic Forum on Africa are Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director, Oxfam International, Siyabonga Gama, Group Chief Executive Officer, Transnet, Frédéric Lemoine, Chairman of the Executive Board, Wendel, Rich Lesser, Global Chief Executive Officer and President, Boston Consulting Group, and Ulrich Spiesshofer, President and Chief Executive Officer, ABB.
– African News Agency