As the deep grey of the Geneva sky hung overhead, delegates gathered at the Africa CEO Forum on 20 November to discuss brighter matters.
A stellar panel awaited them at this opening session. AfDB President Donald Kaberuka pointed to the large over-subscription of Zambia's recent visit to the global capital market, revealing the huge pent-up demand for yield.
President of the China-Africa Development Fund (CADF_, Chi Jianxin reminded delegates that Africa's growth is not just resource-based, and that in terms of Chinese investment, this is just the beginning.
Mo Ibrahim electrified the hall by asking Chi Jianxin whether the CADF had an ethical investment code like the International Finance Corporation – to which Chi replied that Chinese companies selected by the Fund had to be socially and economically responsible.
Economist Paul Collier of Oxford University railed against the gross overpricing of political risk in Africa, pointing to the way in which companies in Greece can have a better rating than Greek sovereign rating, while in Africa a country's risk acts as a glass ceiling for companies.
There were just some of the debates in this first session of The Africa CEO forum – there are plenty more to come as the knowledge sessions get underway.