Tanzania will become the first East African country to host the World Economic Forum on Africa next year, easing out the region’s economic giant, Kenya, that had been seen as a favourite.
The forum announced that Tanzania will host the 2010 World Economic Forum on Africa in Dar es Salaam from May 5 to 7, 2010.
“The forum on Africa is an important opportunity to take the pulse each year of the most influential of Africa’s stakeholders.
We look forward to holding the meeting in Tanzania at a time when the whole East Africa region is expected to experience stronger growth,” said Mr Andre Schneider, managing director of the World Economic Forum.
President Jakaya Kikwete echoed his enthusiasm: “It is an honour for Tanzania to host the 2010 World Economic Forum on Africa.
We are looking forward to welcoming the community, which I am confident will continue to make important contributions in our collective quest for a better world.”
Optimism has been high in Kenya with Prime Minister Raila Odinga, who led the country’s delegation to the 18th World Economic Forum on Africa in South Africa earlier this year, said Kenya had accepted an invitation by the organisers to host the forum.
Mr Odinga said that the organisers had given the country the green light to host the event due to “the Kenyan delegation’s high visibility participation in the just-concluded meeting”.
Kenya’s prospects were also boosted by the appointment of local techpreneur Nicholas Nesbitt as a member of a WEF Global Agenda Council in June.
This came only a week after Odinga formerly launched a Sh77 million bid for Kenya to host the influential meeting.
The World Economic Forum on Africa takes place over three days and is renowned for its informal style that engenders frank and open discussions among the most influential leaders with a stake in the region.
The 2009 gathering was hosted in Cape Town by newly elected President Jacob Zuma of South Africa.
There have been reports that Former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan’s intervention has blocked Kenya from hosting the prestigious forum.
He is said to have intervened to block Kenya from hosting the forum so as not to reward the failure of the government to properly implement the National Accord that he brokered in 2008.
Mr Annan, who is the co-chair of the WEF, was said to be particularly irked by the government’s failure to deal with post election violence suspects.
Kenya was up against Ghana, Tanzania and South Africa, to host the event which analysts say will be a considerable image booster for the winner.