By: Hana Kotb
The economic forum Africa 2018 will be held on December 8 and 9 in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, for the second time, and there will be about 2,000 participants. This is only fitting since Egypt will start chairing the African Union next month. Minister of Investment and International Cooperation Sahar Nasr stated that the forum will include sessions on women empowerment, and the Young Entrepreneurs Day (YED).
The forum this year is titled “Bold Leadership and Collective Commitment: Advancing Intra-African Investments”. It is organized by the ministry as well as COMESA Regional Investment Agency. The agency’s Regional Manager Heba Salama expressed her appreciation for Egypt’s role in supporting economic relations between African countries, and the ministry’s role in hosting the conference for three years.
The past conference, held last December and attended by about 3,000 participants, has come up with five recommendations:
- Pumping new investments in Africa to boost economic growth and development
- The establishment of joint projects, particularly in infrastructure, to support investment and trade among African states.
- Enhancing the role of the African private sector to increase investment rates in the continent.
- The execution of programs that encourage entrepreneurship and the adoption of programs that would increase youth’s participation in the African economy.
- Empowering women in all fields of economic activity, considering them as active members in the process of developing Africa and achieving economic stability.
Last year, twelve African start-ups have been selected to pitch their businesses at Africa 2017 to investors, private equity firms and venture capital firms. These 12 were chosen from over 100 applications across Africa. Each company had 30 minutes to present their business at the Deal Room at the conference venue in order to secure funding for their business expansion and growth. The selected companies are working in the fields of agriculture, agribusiness, transport and logistics, and manufacturing.
Two of the 12 companies are Egyptian: Simplex, which works in light manufacturing including textiles, leather, paper, plastics, food and beverages; and Tagaddod that works in biodiesel production.
We are eagerly awaiting this year’s Africa Forum, and looking forward to see what we have planned for Egypt and Africa’s future.