On Monday 14th March, Rwanda will host the inaugural African Transformation Forum (ATF). The Forum is jointly organized by the African Center for Economic Transformation (ACET), one of Africa’s leading think tanks, and the Government of Rwanda.
K.Y. Amoako, president of ACET said that for years, his organization had wanted to convene leading thinkers, policy makers, the private sector and civil society to shape solutions to deliver economic transformation in Africa.
“With the inaugural ATF, this has now happened,” he said and thanked the President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame for “his unwavering support for the Forum and his government’s characteristic efficiency in bringing it to fruition”.
Rwanda’s Minister of Finance and Development Planning, Claver Gatete, notes in his message to visiting delegates that though Rwanda may be a small country geographically, its aspirations – for both itself and the continent – are great. The path to meeting these aspirations, he adds, requires an unwavering focus on economic transformation.
The focus of the Forum will be on key areas that can unlock rapid and sustained growth, establish the continent as part of the global supply chain and make Africa globally competitive not only in terms of exports but also as a frontier manufacturing base.
In its 2014 African Transformation Report, ACET described this as ‘Growth with DEPTH’; that is diversification of production, export competitiveness,productivity increases, technology upgrades and human wellbeing. This forum is designed to advance the agenda from the ‘what’ of economic transformation to the ‘how’.
One of the key objectives of the Forum, said Anver Versi, ACET communications chief, will be to introduce and create a Coalition for Transformation in Africa. “This is a leadership network organized in Chapters, each focused on a specific and vital area of economic development. The idea is that after the Forum, Chapter members including governments, businesses and civil society dedicated to Africa’s economic transformation, will continue to meet, discuss and find solution beyond the Forum”.
The programme has a stellar cast of speakers, including some of the continent’s leading analysts and thinkers. Amongst them Carlos Lopes, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa; Makhtar Diop, VP for Africa at the World Bank; Antoinette Sayeh, Africa Department Director of the IMF; Nkosana Moyo, Founder and Executive Chair of MINDS , James Mwangi, Executive Director at Dalberg and ACET’s own experts – Yaw Ansu, Ed Brown and Joe Amoako-Tuffour amongst others.