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Spotlight on African growth

Business leaders from Africa and around the world will meet in London next week for the 2010 Africa Business Forum, where talks will be held in how business and government can best design a sustainable growth strategy for Africa in the new global economic environment. The results of the Forum will be communicated to the G8.

The Forum is the latest in a series of think tanks to look at African development, with ICTs coming under discussion for their role in economic and social development. The recent fifth World Telecommunication Development Conference in Hyderabad, India, looked at priorities for the development of ICTs. That event ended with an ambitious roadmap for African development being issued.

Also recently, the Africa Progress Panel headed by Kofi Anan, presented an Africa Progress Report. which called for more education initiatives, empowerment of women and incentivisation of connectivity and the use of ICTs, aong other things.

The report said: “ Despite significant progress, Africa still lags behind in terms of both information hardware and the use of information and communication technologies in management, entrepreneurship, development, social networking and accountability. But Africa’ s “ connectivity deficit” also creates opportunities to leapfrog expensive and outdated technology and to learn from experiences elsewhere. We call upon African leaders in both the public and private sectors to advance results-oriented partnerships around plans to connect the continent, including schools, health centres, farmers, local authorities and the media.”

The Africa Progress Panel called for a more assertive approach from African leaders to translate the continent’ s “ immense resources” into social benefits for its people. The report warned that “ Africans beyond elite circles are not benefiting sufficiently” while at the same time there was great scope to improve Africa’ s partnerships with the Global South.

Next week’ s Africa Business Forum, to be opened by Philemon Yang, Prime Minister of the Republic of Cameroon, will focus on how business and government can best design a sustainable growth strategy for Africa in the new global economic environment. It will discuss the practical partnerships which business is taking on job creation, enterprise, trade, investment and good governance across the continent, and discuss how we can strengthen capital flows and trade.

The Forum will also be addressed by Ministers from Rwanda, Zambia, Namibia, Cameroon and newly appointed Hon. Stephen O’ Brien MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, DFID, UK. Business Leaders from the UK, South Africa, Rwanda, Kenya, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Israel, Canada, Uganda, Nigeria, Tanzania, Australia and the US will also address the meeting.

 

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