Monday, 20 June 2016

Africa on a roll #WEF

Africa on a roll #WEFAnother year and another World Economic Forum (WEF) on Africa, but with a wider canvas. The world’s viewpoint has transformed considerably over the past 12 months. Africa is becoming more vocal on the global platform. WEF on Africa is indeed one of several assemblies at which Africa’s fortunes are deliberated. Regional and worldwide leaders from different domains of business, governments and civil societies, assembled in Kigali, Rwanda for the 26th World Economic Forum on Africa (WEF) from 11th to 13th of May.

Under the theme “Connecting Africa’s Resources through Digital Transformation,” the forum focused on digital economy facilitators which are expected to furnish radical structural revolution, augmenting public-private rendezvous on global and regional matters. This was actually the second time that the WEF was held in East Africa, and the first time in Kigali, Rwanda, which is unfortunately remembered for the genocide that began in 1994. Regardless, Rwanda has dedicatedly renovated its economy, evolving as a regional high-tech hub that claims one of sub-Saharan Africa’s fastest GDP growth rates. It is one of the continent’s most modest economies and a top reformer in improving the business environment. In the past two years, it has efficaciously hosted several notable conferences like the pan-African AfDB Annual Meeting in 2014, Transform Africa Summit in 2013 and 2015, and the 84th Interpol General Assembly in 2015.

A Diamond in the Rough
Host country representatives said they are enthusiastic about the continent's economic future. Africa certainly has hidden exceptional characteristics and a great future potential, but presently lacks the specific demeanour that would make it truly stand out from the crowd. "Africa is a continent of opportunities and partnerships," said Paul Kagame, Rwanda's President, at the opening of the World Economic Forum, adding that African countries could, though, develop its economic potential only together. Participants excessively articulated their confidence about the continent's economic future. The President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Akinwumi Adesina, already sees the continent on its way to the fourth industrial revolution. The bank has raised about $1billion to support training for Africa's young generation to safeguard that there will be enough programmers and computer specialists on guard in future.

Adesina shared the Bank's 10-year roadmap for tackling Africa's energy deficit, stating that this approach would elevate the continent's industrial capacity and competitiveness. Energy is at the top of the Bank's High 5 priorities - Light up and power Africa; Feed Africa; Industrialise Africa; Integrate Africa; and improve the quality of life for the people of Africa. Under the energy strategy the Bank will invest US$12 billion of its own resources in the energy sector in five years, and will partner with other players to mobilize domestic and international capital for innovative financing in Africa's energy industry. The initiative is anticipated to upsurge on-grid generation by 160 GW of new capacity by 2025, almost doubling the continent's current capacity.

Presidents Paul Kagame of Rwanda and Ali Bongo Ondimba of Gabon expressed their whole hearted support for the Bank's initiative which seeks to exploit the continent's massive possessions for both conventional and renewable energy. The President of Gabon further committed to increase his country's resource allocation to the energy sector.

Internet for all
You all must be keen to know the good news coming out of this meeting? Certainly, much of it can be found in the energy and power of young Africans, they agreed, as well as in adding state-ofthe- art technology. The WEF hopes to accomplish this with an initiative called "Internet for all". In partnership with private companies, the project aims to connect Africa to the web, particularly its vast rural regions. "Internet and broadband should be considered as a basic need, just like water and electricity. That is why we believe it's not a privilege, not a luxury - but that everybody should take part in the opportunities this new revolution presents," Rwanda's Minister of Youth and Technology, Jean Philbert Nsengimana, said.

Africa Rising
Drop in economic growth rate of Africa do not stamp and verify the end of the “Africa Rising” narrative, but rather provide a chance for countries on the continent to reform, refocus and make themselves more robust to external shocks, said Uhuru Kenyatta, President of Kenya, on the opening day of the forum. “It is a wake-up call, not a point of gloom,” Kenyatta said. One lesson to be learned from recent growth declines in many sub-Saharan African countries is that they need to expand their economies to avoid global commodity price falls having such an upsetting effect. David A. Lipton, First Deputy Managing Director, International Monetary Fund (IMF), Washington DC, agreed that growth rates in Africa are expected to recover as the right economic fundamentals are still in place. Read more.....


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