UAE – Mubasher: The fifth edition of the two-day event ‘Global Business Forum Africa 2019’ kicked off on Monday, 18 November 2019, under the theme "Scale-Up Africa" and the patronage of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.
African heads of state, ministers, policymakers, prominent business leaders, investors and entrepreneurs descended on Dubai to attend the forum, in a way of boosting cooperation between UAE businesses and their counterparts from Africa.
The First Day of the forum gathered industry experts that spoke during different sessions that covered key trends, technologies, opportunities, and challenges impacting African economies:
Rwanda – CEO of Rwanda Information Society Authority, Innocent Muhizi, noted that the government functions as a private sector entity by setting KPIs and working towards ambitious targets.
Sierra Leone – The Chief Minister, Hon. David J. Francis, said that his department has piloted iPads to eliminate the use of stationery while introducing automated public expenditure policy, in addition to having more areas covered with internet and mobile networks.
Nigeria – Commissioner for economic planning at Anambra State Government, Mark Okoye, talked about his country’s goal of attracting foreign direct investment (FDI) and adopting technologies for both citizens and businesses.
CEO and co-founder of Centbee Company, Lorien Gamaroff spoke about Bitcoin, saying “If you look at why bitcoin was invented, it was actually a transparent ledger – an accountancy system. The big difference is it is not owned by a single organisation, it is shared, much like the internet. Here, with blockchain, we have a single ledger, so it’s impossible to hide transactions.”
Ethiopia – Senior economic Advisor at the National Bank of Ethiopia, Melesse Tashu, highlighted that his country is progressing in building an inclusive digital economic strategy as well as growing its e-commerce market.
Ethiopia – Tizzita Mengesha Tefera, co-founder and chief executive director of Maisha ICT which uses drones for humanitarian uses, commented, “You can improve lives through technology. The youth are part of that conversation.”
Zimbabwe – President Emmerson Mnangagwa confirmed that his country is open for business opportunities, proof to that is the economic zones being created in Zimbabwe to attract foreign investment.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa concluded, “Up until now we have had no support from international institutions - we’ve had no lines of credit for 20 years. Bilateral relations have dried up. We need to introduce a raft of economic reforms to attract global capital. We must create an environment where investors feel comfortable.”
He elaborated, “I say to the world - come and make money here, all opportunities are opening up – in agriculture, mining, and energy.”