Over 1 000 global business, government and academic leaders will converge on Cape Town from Wednesday to Friday to focus on driving Africa’s economic growth, boosting strategic infrastructure and unlocking the continent’s talent as part of the 23rd World Economic Forum on Africa.
“Africa has an historic opportunity to take advantage of recent improvements in governance, as well as its massive youth bulge, to transform its economy and society,” said WEF director of Africa, Elsie Kanza.
“The World Economic Forum on Africa presents Africa’s leaders with a platform to build on these encouraging signs and work together to create innovative models, solutions and outcomes to tackle the region’s challenges and harness its great potential.”
‘New growth trajectory’
The South African delegation will be led by President Jacob Zuma. It will allow the country the opportunity to present its major programmes, such as the National Development Plan (NDP).
“We will be showcasing the NDP, which places us on a new growth trajectory,” said Deputy Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene. “We also support growth in Africa through regional integration.”
South Africa’s position in Africa will also help the WEF drive its vision of building sustained economic growth, mitigating global risks, promoting universal health care, improving social welfare and encouraging environmental sustainability.
“South Africa has long been a friend of WEF,” Kanza said.
“South Africa is strategically important in Africa and part of the growing credibility of the region.”
Africa Competitiveness Report
The Africa Competitiveness Report will be released as part of the conference, as will two infrastructure reports on accelerating public-private partnerships and boosting regional infrastructure development on the continent.
The Africa Competitiveness Report is released every two years and the 2013 report, titled “Connecting Africa’s Markets in a Sustainable Way”, will be the fourth edition of the study.
“It explores policy areas to facilitate the connection of Africa’s markets and determine further regional integration,” the WEF said.
“The report also provides profiles for 38 African countries, providing a comprehensive summary of the drivers of productivity and competitiveness on the continent.”
The public-private partnerships report identifies key challenges and outlines how to manage a project preparation process, conduct a feasibility study and create an enabling environment.
The regional infrastructure development report looks at public officials and private sector companies, best-practice framework and potential innovative infrastructure financing instruments.
According to the WEF, there will also be several important meetings on the fringes of the two-day public programme.
This includes the Grow Africa Investment Forum on Wednesday and Thursday, which will involve over 300 participants reviewing private sector investment opportunities in member countries.
“With an expected annual growth of 5% in 2012-2013, Africa continues its transformative journey from a developing continent to a hub of global growth,” the WEF said.