“Africa 2016” enables the establishment of partnerships between governments and the private sector in Africa to enhance the continent’s standing in the global economy
The first business forum in Africa “Africa 2016” held under the auspices of H.E. President Abdel-Fattah Elsissy drew to a close this evening 21st of February 2016 in Sharm El-Sheikh after two days of meetings and discussions with governments, the private sector and international and regional organizations on how to make best use of the continent’s resources and capacities and of the fast growth of its economies to promote regional integration in Africa and enhance its standing in the global economy.
“Africa 2016” was inaugurated by H.E. President El-Sissy on 20th February in the presence of the Presidents of Sudan, Nigeria, Gabon and Equatorial Guinea, as well as the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, the President of the African Development Bank, and leaders from government and business from across the continent. H.E. President El-Sissy highlighted the significance of “Africa 2016” given that it was organized a few month after Egypt hosted the Tripartite Free Trade Area Summit (COMESA, SADC, EAC) as the first step towards the establishment of the continental free trade area. H.E. President El-Sissy underlined Egypt’s eagerness to continue build the institutional and human capacities of African countries through various national mechanisms, and referred to Egypt’s efforts to promote regional integration, stressing that Egypt’s investments in Africa increased to reach US$ 8 billion. H.E. President El-Sissy invited African countries, the business community and our partners in development to establish development partnerships in Africa.
“Africa 2016” is the first investment forum to be held by Africa, in Africa and for Africa. It was initiated by the Egyptian Agency of Partnership for Development (EAPD), the South-South Cooperation arm of the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and was organized under the umbrella of the African Union, in partnership with the ministries of Foreign Affairs, Investment, Trade and Industry and International Cooperation, as well we the African Development Bank and the COMESA Regional Investment Agency. More than 1200 participants from Africa and beyond attended the Forum, and deliberated over two days in interactive sessions and bilateral meetings on the most pressing economic and development issues for Africa. Discussions focused mainly on energy, health-care, information and communication technologies, agriculture and infrastructure; and on how to boost intra-African investments and remove barriers to intra-African trade. The forum proved to be a timely opportunity for participants to connect and engage, and many considered it a creative mechanism to facilitate the establishment of partnerships in the fields of priority to Africa.
A number of side events were held on the margins of the Forum, including the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Social Fund for Development and the Egyptian Agency of Partnership for Development, in the presence of The Egyptian Prime Minister and the Egyptian Minister of Foreign Affairs. The aim of the MOU is to promote technical cooperation with African countries in the developmental field and to strengthen South-South Cooperation. The Forum also saw the launch of an initiative to establish a digital hub to help Africa better track and control disease outbreaks. The African Health Data and Disease Control Hub (AHDCH) is an initiative by the Government of Egypt through the Egyptian Agency of Partnership for Development (EAPD), with the Association of Friends of the National Cancer-free Initiative (AFNCI) as its implementing partner and Microsoft providing technology support for the platform development. The initiative comes in-line with the African Union’s call for an integrated and innovative effort to improve prevention, detection, and response to public health threats.
“Africa 2016” highlighted the firm commitment of leaders from governments and business in Egypt to partner with Africa, as well as the eagerness of African leaders to free trade between their countries, and the confidence of national and international investors in the economic prospects of Egypt and Africa. The organizers of the Forum hope to hold it regularly so that it becomes a mechanism to strengthen cooperation and integration between African countries.