World Economic Forum on Africa to be attended by Five African Leaders


Faced with the prospect of a prolonged economic slowdown, global leaders are assessing the health and future of their respective economies. The birth of a new era is calling for an overhaul of our governance and financial systems and a return to responsible and accountable leadership.

The World Economic Forum announced today at a press conference in Johannesburg that more than 800 participants from 50 countries will participate in the 19th World Economic Forum on Africa in Cape Town from 10 to 12 June 2009. Jacob Zuma, the new President of South Africa, will host the meeting, where participants will gather to deliberate under the theme Implications of the Global Economic Crisis for Africa.

“There is a need now, more than ever, to explore how macroeconomic shifts are shaping the global agenda and how these trends are affecting Africa’s diverse economies,” said Katherine Tweedie, Director, Head of Africa, World Economic Forum. “I am encouraged to see that over 800 leaders have chosen the 19th World Economic Forum on Africa as the key platform to address the implications of the global economic crisis for the continent. Most importantly, the meeting will facilitate interaction and dialogue that will allow our key leaders to address the immediate challenges posed by the crisis and fully explore the unique opportunities that Africa has at its doorstep in this new global arena.”

At this critical juncture, the 19th World Economic Forum on Africa provides an important platform for world leaders to address the global and regional implications of the crisis and develop a new roadmap for Africa’s future. The launch of The Africa Competitiveness Report 2009 will provide valuable insight for these deliberations. Discussion will focus on the impact of the crisis on Africa’s traditional drivers of growth, including foreign capital flows, demand for oil and commodities, and infrastructure development. A key focus will be on Africa’s investment climate and identifying practical solutions to foster better business practices and greater investment across the continent.

Economic deliberations will be closely linked to important social and environmental issues including food security, climate change, healthcare and education.
With one year to the kick-off of the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, the economic and social impact of this major international event will also be explored. Participants as well as the public are invited to join the Davos Debates in Africa and send their video responses to the question: “Will the whole of Africa benefit from the FIFA World Cup 2010 in South Africa?”
The meeting will kick off with a highly interactive session to engage over 350 leaders in a brainstorming exercise. Leaders will examine the current changing global landscape and determine the major challenges for which African countries need to be most prepared in the coming year. The Forum has invited the public to help shape the debate and vote on the key challenges. Results and video responses will be presented in the session, which will be broadcast on

Heads of state/government from Africa who have confirmed their participation include Raila Amolo Odinga, Prime Minister of Kenya; Pakalitha Mosislili, Prime Minister of Lesotho; Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda; Jacob G. Zuma, President of South Africa; and Rupiah Bwezani Banda, President of Zambia.

Other leaders who will participate include Kgalema Petrus Motlanthe, Deputy President of South Africa; Donald Kaberuka, President of African Development Bank (ADB), Tunis; Pravin Gordhan, Minister of Finance of South Africa; Obiageli Katryn Ezekwesili, Vice-President, Africa Region, World Bank, Washington DC; Lord Malloch-Brown, Minister of State for Africa, Asia and the United Nations, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, United Kingdom; Luis Moreno-Ocampo, Prosecutor, ICC-International Criminal Court, The Hague; Graça Machel, Founder and President, Foundation for Community Development (FDC), Mozambique; and Arthur G. O. Mutambara, Deputy Prime Minister of Zimbabwe.

The Co-Chairs of the 2009 World Economic Forum on Africa are Kofi Annan, Secretary-General, United Nations (1997-2006); Member of the Foundation Board of the World Economic Forum; Soud Ba’alawy, Executive Chairman, Dubai Group, United Arab Emirates; Jiang Jianqing, Chairman of the Board, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, People’s Republic of China; Graham Mackay, Chief Executive, SABMiller, United Kingdom; and Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Managing Director, World Bank, Washington DC.

Five African leaders will take part in the 19th World Economic Forum on Africa in Cape Town, South Africa, next week South Africa’s new President Jacob Zuma to host the meeting which will feature 800 participants Learn more about the programme here: