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Dubai hosts global business forum on Africa
November 26, 2017, 2:11 pm
The enormous business opportunities offered by Africa were highlighted once again at this year’s Global Business Forum on Africa 2017 that was held in Dubai. The two-day event, which took place on the first two days of November, was organized by the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and ruler of Dubai.
Held under the theme of ‘Next Generation Africa’, the fourth annual iteration of the forum brought together state leaders, global businessmen and experts to ‘brainstorm the next phase of growth and development with the founders of Africa’s top businesses’. More than 1000 top-level government officials, corporate decision makers, industry experts and young entrepreneurs were in attendance to hear global thought leaders engage in inspirational, thought-provoking and future-focused dialogues, aimed at shaping the future of governments and businesses on the continent.
The panel discussions, interviews and individual speakers at the forum helped participants to explore the potential for leveraging technology to accelerate growth across Africa, discuss the power of the emerging private sector and identify the opportunities for financing and partnering with Africa’s most dynamic businesses.
The forum’s theme was further subdivided into three pillars: Future realities; Next generation solutions; and, game changers. The pillars looked at the trends that are driving new approaches to business and development across the continent, and opening up new opportunities for young entrepreneurs. The discussions also focused on innovative models that young entrepreneurs are attempting to leapfrog constraints holding back African economy, including in the fields of logistics, power and financial services. Game changers included topics such as: whether industrialization was the pathway to prosperity; the influence of governance to accelerate or impede technology-enabled future; and the nature and availability of funding for young entrepreneurs.
The Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, which aims to promote Dubai as an attractive business hub for companies on the continent, believes the annual forum will help boost trade ties between the UAE and Africa by facilitating cooperation between businesses and investors on both sides.
President and CEO of the Dubai Chamber, Hamad Buamim, revealed that since the launch of Global Business Forum on Africa in 2013, Dubai’s non-oil trade with Africa had grown to exceed US$190 billion and the number of African businesses registered with the Dubai Chamber had crossed 17,000 companies.
According to an Infrastructure Consortium for Africa (ICA) report, in 2016, the total investment in transport, energy, water and in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) stood at $62.5 billion, a figure lower than that of 2015 which stood at $78.9 billion. The continent accounts for a fifth of the world’s population, and several of its 54 countries have a majority of citizens below the age of 35.
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