African leaders who have confirmed their participation include Armando Emilio Guebuza, President of Mozambique; Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda; Ali-Ben Bongo Ondimba, President of Gabon; Raila Amolo Odinga, Prime Minister of Kenya; Hifikepunye Pohamba, President of Namibia; Morgan Tsvangirai, Prime Minister of Zimbabwe; Boni Yayi, President of Benin; Meles Zenawi, Prime Minister of Ethiopia and Jacob G. Zuma, President of South Africa. Other leaders who will participate include, Mizengo Kayanza Peter Pinda, Prime Minister of Tanzania; Ali Mohammed Shein, Vice-President of Tanzania; Donald Kaberuka, President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Tunis; Pravin Gordhan, Minister of Finance of South Africa; Pascal Lamy, Director-General, World Trade Organisation (WTO), Geneva; Obiageli Katryn Ezekwesili, Vice-President, Africa Region, World Bank, Washington DC; and Asha-Rose Migiro, UN Deputy Secretary-General, New York.
The Co-Chairs of the 2010 World Economic Forum on Africa are Ajai Chowdhry, Founder, HCL; Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, HCL Infosystems, India; Kuseni Douglas Dlamini, Chief Executive Office, Old Mutual, South Africa; Pat Davies, Chief Executive, Sasol, South Africa; Joergen Ole Haslestad, President and Chief Executive Officer, Yara International ASA, Norway; Amani Abeid Karume, President of Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar, and Mrs. Tibaijuka.
Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, 5 May 2010 – With twelve African heads of state and government joining over 1,000 participants from 85 countries, the 20th World Economic Forum on Africa has taken on a special momentum. At the opening plenary, Jakaya M. Kikwete, President of Tanzania, called for partnerships at local, bilateral and international level to help overcome the many obstacles faced by African nations.
“Africa’s potential is immense in terms of human and natural resources. It is a contradiction that Africa remains poor,” he said. “Poor as we are, our capacities are limited. We need partnerships with the private sector to invest in the development of the continent, we need ODA [Official Development Assistance], infrastructure and services. We badly need FDI [foreign direct investment].” The president reminded participants that East Africa gets “the least share of FDI flows in the world,” but cautioned that investments cannot be made without active participation of the local private sector.
Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman, World Economic Forum, noted that this year’s meeting on Africa, the Forum’s 20th and its largest to date, is a demonstration of what can be achieved. “We will work hard to make sure that this meeting makes a concrete contribution to the economic and social development of this great continent,” he said.
Sharing the platform were fivw co-chairs, including Mrs. Tibaijuka. All gave their insights on the way forward.
Ajai Chowdhry, Founder, HCL; Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, HCL Infosystems, India; and Pat Davies, Chief Executive, Sasol, South Africa, Co-Chairs of the meeting, pointed to Africa’s rich human capital and the need to make it more productive. Africa’s population of one billion is a “huge opportunity”. Said Davies: "You’ve got the people, the market and the resources. It is a huge opportunity for Africa to become an engine of growth globally.”
Kuseni Douglas Dlamini, Chief Executive Officer, Old Mutual, South Africa, noted that 60% of Africa’s population is young people who are resources, not problems. “If we can focus on harnessing the potential of young people, and the potential of women, it will have a powerful impact,” he said. Co-Chair Dlamini also pointed to Africa’s potential to become “the breadbasket of the world.”
Mrs. Tibaijuka, emphasized that within the framework of globalization, Africa needs a level playing field. “To realize Africa’s potential requires an environment within which that potential can be realized. This will require international solidarity, partnership and a level playing field,” she said. She also emphasized that good urban planning was key to unlocking the potential of African cities.
Notes to Editors
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