Africa CEO Forum 2024 Hails Africa as Next Global Economic Engine

The 11th annual Africa CEO Forum took place in the Rwandan capital Kigali from 16 to 17 May 2024. It is worth noting that Kigali is hosting the Forum for the second time.

This 2024 edition attracted some 2,500 delegates coming from 75 countries in Africa and beyond. Heads of state and government, ministers, captains of industry and leaders of the civil society made up most of the audience.

“We call on our community of leaders shaping the future of Africa to recognise the structural and enduring consequences of the actions they take at this critical time. The Forum will be a crucible for innovative strategies and partnerships, propelling the continent into the opportunities of tomorrow.”

Africa CEO Forum President Amir Ben Yahmed

In his welcome address, Rwanda President Paul Kagame underscored that Africa cannot continue to wallow at the bottom of the Global Value Chain (#GVC), but must strive to upgrade its industrial capacity to perform more Local Value Addition (#LVA).

Dangote Group Chair Aliko Dangote deplored that with his Nigerian passport, he still needs to apply for visa to 35 African countries. In contrast, his counterpart at Total Energies, who holds a French passport, actually requires less visas to travel around Africa. Therefore, for the #AfCFTA to truly become successful, Africa must not only facilitate the movement of goods and services, but also the movement of people.

All the leaders were on the same wavelength when it comes to developing Africa. They all believe that the onus for the development of Africa rest squarely on the shoulders of Africans. “The Africa We Want” will be built by Africans by zeroing on the realization of #Agenda2063.

“Kenya is neither looking East nor looking West, but looking Forward.”

Kenyan President William Ruto
Africa no longer wants to be on the menu, but would rather have a seat at the table
Africa no longer wants to be on the menu, but would rather have a seat at the table

Indeed, Africa has many of the #CriticalMinerals needed for the #GreenEconomy. It is quite clear that the world will not be able to tackle certain global challenges such as #ClimateChange without the buy-in from the #GlobalSouth, of which Africa forms a significant part.

Moreover, Africa has a young population which is keen to climb up the economic ladder and ready to adopt new technologies. The massive youthful population represents both a source of cheap labour and a huge market of eager consumers.

The International Finance Corporation (IFC) of the World Bank Group sealed several deals totaling nearly USD one billion during the Forum. In fiscal year 2022, the IFC provided financing totaling USD 5.2 billion for Africa. Over the six decades that IFC has been working with Africa, the cumulated amount of financing for Africa has exceeded USD 60 billion.

The topics covered were quite diverse and ranged from traditional sectors such as mining to emerging sectors such as #AI. At the end of the Forum, the delegates left with a renewed sense of purpose to achieve the target to boost Africa’s GDP from the current USD 3 trillion to USD 30 trillion by 2050.