Over 1200 delegates comprising government leaders, business executives, academics, and civil society and media representatives are expected to start trickling into the country tomorrow for the 26th World Economic Forum on Africa.
The forum, slated for May 11-13 at Camp Kigali tented facilities, will discuss a wide range of issues regarding the continent’s socio-economic development, according to organisers.
Several high profile participants have already confirmed attendance and include Heads of State and Government, namely President Paul Kagame; Ali Bongo Ondimba, the President of Gabon; Alpha Condé, the President of Guinea; Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, Senegalese President Macky Sall; Togolese President Faure Gnassingbé; the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Hailemariam Dessalegn; as well as the Prime Minister of Ivory Coast Daniel Kablan Duncan, organisers have said.
The meeting will also attract leaders from outside the continent, including representatives of Africa’s trade partners and international organisations.
Among those that have confirmed participation, include; the Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation of the Netherlands, Lilianne Ploumen; the Minister for Strategic Development and Nordic Cooperation of Sweden, Kristina Persson; the Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, Mikhail Bogdanov; and a US trade representative, Michael Froman.
WEF organisers say the forum will highlight the role of Africa in a global economy that is becoming increasingly characterised by machine-learning rather than manpower and where economic prosperity is built on the knowledge and ingenuity of people rather than natural resources.
“The forum will seek to identify priorities and actions for Africa’s leaders as they look to build economies resilient to today’s challenges and able to flourish in the increasingly digital, convergent marketplaces of tomorrow,” a concept note on the forum reads in part.
The African edition of the summit follows the Forum’s Annual Meeting in Davos in January this year that focused on the anticipated Fourth Industrial Revolution.
Elsie Kanza the head of Africa and member of the executive committee of the forum, said next week’s meeting will also discuss how Africa can build strong institutions, and advance greater regional integration and investment in key areas for shared prosperity.
“The Fourth Industrial Revolution presents a unique opportunity to build stronger, fairer, more prosperous societies, but this can only be achieved through strong institutions, greater regional integration and investment in key areas such as infrastructure, education and industries. There is vast scope for public-private cooperation to help realise these goals,” Kanza said.
Rwanda’s Minister for Finance and Economic Planning Claver Gatete said the upcoming forum will also provide an opportunity to identify opportunities for public-private partnerships that would generate more jobs and enable higher living standards on the continent.
“An entrepreneurial, knowledge-intensive economy is the foundation for inclusive growth in Rwanda and beyond. The World Economic Forum on Africa allows us to take this conversation further and identify opportunities for public-private partnerships,” Gatete said.