Président de la Commission de l’Union Africaine (depuis le 1er. février 2008)
One of the major successes of NEPAD has been the encouraging positive response by the private sector to changing their negative perceptions of Africa. Through participation in many international forums and show-casing developments in the continent, there is a noticeable change in how Africa is perceived.
One of the best partnerships in this area is the US Corporate Council on Africa (CCA), which for the past few years has held annual US-Africa Summits under the auspices of NEPAD with the aim of promoting investment between Africa and members of the CCA.
The next US-Africa Summit is being held for the first time in Africa – in Cape Town, from 14-16 November 2007 — and will be co-chaired by Prof. Wiseman Nkuhlu representing Africa and CCA President Stephen Hayes representing the US.
The Summit is structured as follows :
“What can be done to increase sustainable U.S. investment in Africa ?" a dialogue between African Heads of State and business leaders
The U.S. continues to be Africa’s leading single country trade partner, with a combined trade relationship of approximately $70 billion in 2006. For the past five years, U.S.-Africa total trade has been progressively increasing but this status quo is set to change dramatically in the near future.
Top challengers for investment opportunities in Africa include China, India, South Africa, Russia, and the European Union countries, all of which are enhancing their investment growth strategies for the continent.
Recently, U.S. investors have been cautious about expanding their investments in Africa, partly due to past experiences or general risk averseness.
An overwhelming majority of African countries, including those represented on this panel, are effectively reshaping themselves as secure and attractive markets for capital and labour intensive investments.
Real investment opportunities exist in mining, infrastructure development, aviation, agric-processing, power/ energy, and tourism among numerous other sectors.
This distinguished panel will address the foremost challenges and opportunities for propelling and sustaining U.S. investment in Africa.
Investing in Africa : the Chinese and U.S. perspectives
China is significantly expanding its economic strategic partnership with Africa. From energy (oil), to infrastructure (roads and rail), telecommunications, mining, textiles and apparel sectors, the growth of China’s influence in Africa is dramatic.
In 2005, China became the largest single country exporter to sub-Saharan Africa, with $13.4 billion in exports to the region.
Chinese economic strategists believe China’s development model resonates powerfully with African counterparts, thereby having a positive impact on Africa’s development in comparison with the West.
Opposing arguments suggest that China’s rampant growth in fact has a number of adverse trade-offs, including the flooding of markets with inferior products and ineffective skills transfer. At the same time, U.S. businesses are charged with not being aggressive enough in African markets, thereby leaving the playing field open to competition from China.
This distinguished panel will weigh different perspectives of this debate, while contributing constructive feedback on avenues for China-Africa-U.S. trilateral dialogue and collaboration in support of Africa’s growth objectives.
Financing investment in Africa
Domestic and foreign investment rates in African countries remain lower than in other developing countries.
A convergence of factors such as the inability of local African lenders to provide substantial long-term financing, and the hesitation of international financiers to provide funding due to the perception of non-repayment risk have led to the creation of numerous mechanisms for developing and financing long-term projects and general investments.
Private capital, BOOT (build, own, operate, and transfer) and public-private partnerships (PPP) are a few models of project financing employed in Africa today.
The International Finance Corporation’s Doing Business Report has recognised many African countries as top reformers in business regulatory environments. Because of these developments, and partly fueled by funds with surplus capital from commodity price increases, Africa received a record high $39 billion in foreign domestic investment (FDI) in 2006.
Key growth sectors where these new financing models are being employed include power (oil and gas, and electricity), telecommunications, and transportation infrastructure.
Panelists will discuss the evolving financing landscape in Africa, the availability of strong local partners, and the many challenges and opportunities they face on the continent. In addition, they will address specific opportunities for U.S. companies and organisations to increase their lending activities in Africa.
Ensuring a healthier future for Africa : what can business and government do ? A dialogue among American private sector health advocates and African decision makers
This session will be a dialogue among American private sector and African and international decision makers on the current and future impact of health on business from an economic development and productivity standpoint. Ill health, particularly HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria, are having a significant impact on business and economic growth in Africa.
What strategies are businesses and governments engaging in to mitigate the impact on business ?
What are the responsibilities of business and government in addressing the broader societal implications of disease beyond their workforces ?
What is the responsibility of business vs. government in improving access to health care and health outcomes of citizens ?
Bingu wa Mutharika, President of Malawi (invited), Brigadier-General Brian Chituwo, Minister of Health, Zambia (invited), Alex Cummings, President and COO, Africa Group, the Coca-Cola Company (confirmed), Ebenezer Omatsola Kpiasi, Medical Director, Chevron, Nigeria and Mid-Africa,Dr. Robin Gorna, the UK Department for International Development (DFID), global AIDS policy team leader (confirmed).Moderator : Dr. Jeff Sturchio, Vice-President, Corporate Responsibility, Merck and Company (confirmed).
The role of stock markets in the future of Africa
This session will examine the importance of capital markets for African growth and development and offer some suggestions on how to achieve the benefits of a stock exchange without necessarily incurring all the costs. Source : NEPAD, novembre 2007