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World Economic Forum on Africa to focus on connecting Africa’s digital transformation

May 06, 2016

GENEVA, Switzerland – The role of Africa in a global economy that is becoming increasingly characterized by machine learning rather than manpower, and where economic prosperity is built on the knowledge and ingenuity of people rather than natural resources, will be the focus of the 26th World Economic Forum on Africa, taking place in Kigali, Rwanda from 11 to 13 May.

Convening under the theme, Connecting Africa’s Resources through Digital Transformation, the discussion in Kigali will take up where the Forum’s Annual Meeting in Davos-Klosters in January left off: by seeking to identify priorities and actions for Africa’s leaders as they look to build economies resilient to today’s challenges and able to flourish in the increasingly digital, convergent marketplaces of tomorrow. The theme of the Annual Meeting was Mastering the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Participating in the discussions in Kigali will be over 1,200 leaders from government, business, civil society, academia, media and the arts. “The Fourth Industrial Revolution presents a unique opportunity to build stronger, fairer, more prosperous societies, but this can only be achieved through strong institutions, greater regional integration and investment in key areas such as infrastructure, education and industries. There is vast scope for public-private cooperation to help realize these goals,” said Elsie Kanza, Head of Africa and Member of the Executive Committee, World Economic Forum.

“An entrepreneurial, knowledge-intensive economy is the foundation for inclusive growth in Rwanda and beyond. The World Economic Forum on Africa allows us to take this conversation further and identify opportunities for public-private partnership that will generate more jobs and higher living standards in Africa as a whole,” said Hon. Claver Gatete, Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Government of Rwanda.

Key participants from the region include: Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame and Prime Minister Anastase Murekezi; Daniel Kablan Duncan, Prime Minister of Côte d'Ivoire; Hailemariam Dessalegn, Prime Minister of Ethiopia; Ali Bongo Ondimba, President of Gabon; Alpha Condé, President of Guinea; Uhuru Kenyatta, President of Kenya; Macky Sall, President of Senegal; and Faure Gnassingbé, President of Togo.

Other key Cyril M. Ramaphosa, Deputy President of South Africa; Samia Suluhu, Vice-President of Tanzania; Ilyas Moussa Dawaleh, Minister of Economy, Finance , Industry and Planning of Djibouti; Joshua Setipa, Minister of Trade and Industry of Lesotho; Abdirahman Yusuf Ali Aynte, Minister of Planning and International Cooperation of Somalia; and Patrick Chinamasa, Minister of Finance of Zimbabwe.

In addition, leaders from outside the region who will participate are: Lilianne Ploumen, Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation of the Netherlands; Mikhail Bogdanov, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation; Kristina Persson, Minister for Strategic Development and Nordic Cooperation of Sweden; and Michael Froman, US Trade Representative. Representatives from international organizations are: Arancha Gonzalez Laya, Executive Director, International Trade Centre (ITC); Peter Maurer, President, International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC); Kanayo F. Nwanze, President, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD); and Babatunde Osotimehin, Executive Director, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

The Co-Chairs of the World Economic on Africa are: Akinwumi Ayodeji Adesina, President, African Development Bank (AfDB); Dominic Barton, Global Managing Director, McKinsey & Company; Tony O. Elumelu, Chairman, Heirs Holding; Graça Machel, Founder, Foundation for Community; and Tarek Sultan Al Essa, Chief Executive Officer and Vice-Chairman of the Board, Agility.

World Economic Forum on Africa to focus on connecting Africa’s digital transformation

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