Africa CEO Forum: economic sovereignty at the heart of the debate

By Jeune Afrique
Posted on Monday, 13 June 2022 14:04

Ten years after its launch, the Africa CEO Forum will be held in Abidjan on 13 and 14 June. © ERIC LARRAYADIEU for Jeune Afrique

The Africa CEO Forum is back. For the first time since 2019, the largest gathering of the African private sector will be held face-to-face on 13 and 14 June at the Sofitel Ivoire in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire. More than 1,500 participants are expected to attend, including the heads of large African and international companies as well as heads of state and government.

During the two days of discussions, the focus will be on Africa’s economic sovereignty at a time when the Covid-19 crisis, which has profoundly disrupted global economies and supply chains, and the consequences of the war in Ukraine have shown the continent’s overdependence on the rest of the world, including for its most vital needs.

Strong public-private dialogue

Whether it is reducing food import bill (projected at $110bn by 2025), regaining control of digital data (80% of which is stored outside Africa) or manufacturing medicines locally, the quest for greater economic autonomy is becoming a central feature of public policy on the continent. However, the implementation of these strategies must be based on a solid public-private dialogue involving the African champions of today and preparing the ground for those of tomorrow, as demonstrated by the recent successes of Morocco in logistics and Nigeria in the cement sector.

How can African economies emerge from global shocks? Which sectors should states target in their quest for sovereignty, and what impact might this have on the development of the African common market? How can the African private sector contribute to the continent’s food self-sufficiency? Or how can the financing of large infrastructure projects be Africanised? The Africa CEO Forum community will try to propose answers to all these questions.

The 2022 edition, which will also mark the tenth anniversary of this conference, the most important of the African private sector, will also be an opportunity for political and economic leaders to discuss the energy transition and the historic opportunities that this global challenge offers to the continent, which is rich in raw materials essential to the production of clean energy.

African start-ups in the spotlight

The following are expected at the Sofitel Ivoire in Abidjan: the Ivorian head of state Alassane Ouattara, Senegal’s Macky Sall, Niger’s Mohamed Bazoum, Mauritania’s Mohamed Ould Ghazouani, Ghana’s Nana Akufo-Addo and Nigeria’s vice-president Yemi Osinbajo. The decision-makers from the economic sphere expected to be present include: Ralph Mupita, CEO of MTN; Abdul Samad Rabiu, CEO of BUA Group; Delphine Traoré, managing director of Allianz Africa; and Ade Ayeyemi, managing director of Ecobank.

In addition, this year’s event will welcome for the first time the leaders and founders of Africa’s pioneering start-ups, representing outfits such as Kobo360, Sendy, Farmerline, InTouch, MaxAB and Daystar Power.

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