Is Africa condemned to suffer from the effects of faraway crises? This is the question that participants in the 2023 edition of the Africa CEO Forum (ACF) annual summit*, to be held on 5 and 6 June in Abidjan, will be tasked to answer, with a view to finding solutions to build a global response that is valid for all major economic players.
Against a backdrop of global uncertainty and ongoing crises, building self-reliant, resilient and prosperous African economies will this year, more than ever, be a priority for Africa’s largest annual private sector gathering.
ENI, Transnet, Allianz Africa
Around the theme ‘Succeeding despite the crises – from 300 to 3,000: How to accelerate the emergence of the next generation of African champions’, more than 1,800 business and government leaders are expected to engage in a fundamental reflection on two major challenges to the continent’s economic sovereignty.
Firstly, the rehabilitation of the “strategic state” capable of identifying and encouraging the continent’s major growth priorities so that it can be better integrated into global value chains.
Second, support for large companies, which are the spearhead of the future competitiveness of African economies.
The idea is to create the conditions for a dialogue that will enable the implementation of public policies favourable to the emergence of a new generation of African companies with a turnover of over $1bn. If the continent wants to limit the effect of external crises, the multiplication of African champions appears to be an absolute necessity.
Among the personalities confirmed for this new meeting are the chief executives of Côte d’Ivoire, Alassane Ouattara, and Senegal, Macky Sall; Aziz Akhannouch, the head of the Moroccan government; Makhtar Diop, managing director of the International Finance Corporation (IFC, World Bank Group, co-organiser of the event); and many business leaders such as Claudio Descalzi, CEO of ENI; Portia Derby, CEO of Transnet and Kuseni Dlamini, Chairman of Massmart Holdings.
Others are Delphine Traoré, Managing Director of Allianz Africa; Samaila Zubairu, CEO of Africa Finance Corporation; Hassanein Hiridjee, CEO of Axian Group; Karim Beguir, CEO of Instadeep; Jérôme Hénique, CEO of Orange Africa and the Middle East; Hardy Pemhiwa, CEO of Cassava Technologies; Richard Bielle, CEO of CFAO; Jacques Vermeulen, Managing Director of Coca-Cola Beverages Africa; and many other decision-makers from across the continent and the world.
Target: 3,000 African champions
Bringing together the players who are shaping a sovereign and competitive Africa, able to transform crises into opportunities, the Africa CEO Forum will focus on a number of key themes:
- The conduct of an energy transition adapted to the continent
- Local impact of mining or agribusiness
- Development of African voices on major global issues
- Adaptation of businesses to the inflationary crisis
All major sectors will be covered, with several highlights devoted to women leaders, family businesses, and start-ups. Some 50 innovative companies that have collectively raised over $1bn are expected to attend the event.
“The persistent state of crisis we face highlights the need to build an economic environment that is conducive to the emergence of a new generation of African champions, as well as symbols of resilience and innovation in key sectors, from agribusiness to energy to artificial intelligence.
“From 300 champions today, we estimate that this number should be increased to 3,000 to truly transform the continent. This will bring the voice of a dignified and sovereign Africa to the international stage, by creating synergies between the public and private sectors, once again serving as the core of our mission,” said Amir Ben Yahmed, Chair of the Africa CEO Forum and CEO of Jeune Afrique Media Group.
“Africa has the capacity and the will to emerge stronger from the wave of global economic challenges. Achieving this will require cooperation and collaboration between the continent’s private and public sectors. IFC will continue to support Africa and help it build on its strengths to combat climate change, enhance food security, and foster sustainable and inclusive growth,” said Diop.
* Founded in 2012 by Jeune Afrique Media Group, Africa CEO Forum is the reference platform for the leaders of the largest African and international companies, international investors, heads of multinationals, heads of state, ministers and representatives of the main financial institutions active on the continent.
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