20 things to know about World Economic Forum Africa 2014

The World Economic Forum holds in Abuja between Wednesday and Friday.

  1. The World Economic Forum is an international institution consisting business, political, academic and other leaders committed to shaping global, regional and industry agendas towards the improvement of the state of the world through public-private sector cooperation in the spirit of global citizenship.
  2. Incorporated in 1971 as a non-profit foundation, with headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, this the first time Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy and most populous nation, would be playing host to WEF Africa.
  3. WEF has always held its meetings on Africa in Cape Town, South Africa, its regional headquarters. But the 2014 edition moved to Nigeria in the heart of West Africa, considered the fastest growing sub-region, representing Africa’s largest business opportunity.
  4. WEF Africa 2014 is the 24th edition and will see participants actively engaging in constructive interactions and debates on the theme: “Forging Inclusive Growth, Creating Jobs”.
  5. WEF Africa 2014 will bring together regional and global leaders in business, politics and civil society to discuss how integrate and structurally reform the natural and economic potentials of Africa to deliver benefits to all citizens.
  6. WEF Africa 2014 will be chaired by the former UK Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, who will also make a presentation during the Private Sector Session.
  7. President/CEO Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote, will be one of the seven Co-Chairs of WEF Africa 2014, including Bineta Diop, Chair of the Executive Board, Femmes Africa Solidarite, Switzerland; Dominic Barton, Global Managing Director, MaKinsey & Company, UK, and Jean-Francois van Boxmer, Chairman/CEO, Heineken Netherlands.Other Co-Chairs include Jabu Mabuza, Chairman, TelKom Group, South Africa; Sunil Mittal, Founder/Chairman, Bharti Enterprises, India and John Rice, Vice Chairman, General Electric, Hong Kong.
  8. About 67 speakers from 26 countries, including Founder and Executive Chairman, WEF, Klaus Schwab, will make presentations during the three-day meeting.
  9. President Goodluck Jonathan will lead the 12 speakers from Nigeria, including Ministers of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala; Petroleum, Diezani Alison-Madudueke; President Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote; Yonov Frederick Agah, Deputy Director-General, World Trade Organization, WTO, Geneva; Biola Alabi, Managing Partner, Alabi Media Consulting; Akudo Ikemba, Founder/ CEO, Friends Africa (Friends of the Global Fund Africa), Kola Karim, Group Managing Director/CEO, Shoreline Energy International; Stephen Onasanya, Group Managing Director/CEO, First Bank of Nigeria and Wale Tinubu, Group Chief Executive, Oando PLC.
  10. Participants will attempt to identify the challenges and opportunities shaping Africa’s growth outlook, and how Africa’s growth strategies could be made to be more inclusive and create jobs and accelerate regional integration.
  11. Discussions will focus on how investments in Africa can drive diversification and promote inclusive growth, particularly finding ways African economies can overcome the paradox of resource curse, where, despite the hugely rich energy resources, the people remain largely poor.
  12. WEF Africa 2014 will provide the opportunity for African leaders to attempt to align the global narrative with the local perspective to shape the future development path for the continent.
  13. Debates will strive to initiate innovative partnerships to bridge the skills gap to create an adaptable workforce capable of adopting inclusive development strategies to help restore peace and security in the continent.
  14. Apart from private business opening session on Wednesday May 7, 2014, various sessions will be held over two days, May 8 and 9, 2014 on a myriad of issues.
  15. The arena sessions will offer top government, business and civil society leaders opportunity to interactive and debate on a wide range of issues on the theme.
  16. The Interactive sessions will provide in-depth understanding of new, emerging or complex issues aimed at expanding the dialogue, while new solutions sessions will highlight the creative approaches to solve some of the region’s intractable development issues, including education, development finance, gender gap, agriculture.
  17. The One-on-One sessions will afford inspiring individuals from business, government, academia and civil society to share their insights on transformational ideas.
  18. The plenary sessions will open the conceptual framework for discussion on important trends and themes.
  19. Premier of the People’s Republic of China, Li Keqiang, is among the dignitaries to attend the meeting. Others include President of Brazil, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva; President of Ghana, John Mahama; President of Senegal, Macky Sall; President of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta; President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame; President of Togo, Faure Gnassingbé; Prime Minister of Mali, Moussa Mara and Prime Minister of Côte d’Ivoire, Daniel Duncan.
  20. Minister of Finance of South Africa, Pravin Gordhan, and Minister of Health and Social Action, Senegal, Awa Seck are also expected to attend. Other key participants include President, African Development Bank (AfDB), Donald Kaberuka; Executive Vice-President/CEO, International Finance Corporation, IFC, Jin-Yong Cai; Special Envoy for Women, Peace and Security, African Union; President, Femmes Africa Solidarité, Switzerland, Bineta Diop, and Undersecretary-General and Executive Secretary, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), Addis Ababa Carlos Lopes.

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