Africa’s imperative to generate truly inclusive economic growth that provides everyone with the same opportunity to prosper and achieve, along with the leadership qualities required to bring about such change, will be the focus of the 27th World Economic Forum on Africa, taking place in Durban, South Africa, from 3 to 5 May.
Convening over 1,000 leaders from all major stakeholder groups under the theme, Achieving Inclusive Growth through Responsive and Responsible Leadership, the meeting aims to move leaders to change the way they approach development planning by designing policies that allow 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 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. Building the right institutions, developing relevant skills and enhancing access to knowledge will all be crucial to Africa’s future prospects.
The meeting brings together all of the Forum communities that are active in the region during the year. These communities address issues in Africa that include 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 G. Zuma; Cyril M. Ramaphosa, Deputy President of South Africa; H.M. King Mswati III, King of Swaziland; Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, President of the Republic of Mauritius; Edgar Chagwa Lungu, President of Zambia; Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, President of Uganda; Filipe Jacinto Nyusi, President of Mozambique;Macky Sall, President of Senegal; Barnabas Sibusiso Dlamini, Prime Minister of Swaziland; Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila, Prime Minister of Namibia; and Mahamudu Bawumia, Vice-President of Ghana.
Other key participants from Africa 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; 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 are: 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 organizations are: Forest Whitaker, UNESCO Special Envoy for Peace; Social Activist, Whitaker Peace & Development Initiative; Mamadou Biteye, Managing Director, Africa Regional Office, Rockefeller Foundation; Gilbert Fossoun Houngbo, President, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD); Ellen Agler, Chief Executive Officer, The END Fund; and Mukhisa Kituyi, Secretary-General, 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 Malusi Gigaba, Minister of Finance of South Africa.
“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.
Author: Staff Writer