africa ceo forum
Tag Archive

Development bank: ‘High 5’s’ will drive African economic growth

Comments (0) Africa, Business, Featured

Powering and industrializing the economy of Africa are among key priorities outlined in March by the new head of the African Development Bank.

Akinwumi Adesina, president of the bank since September, told about 500 business leaders from 43 countries at the fourth Africa CEO Forum in Abidjan that the continent will rely on private investment as it seeks to advance on “the value chain” from being a source of raw materials to becoming a manufacturing economy.

Adesina said the African Development Bank will focus on five key priorities as it seeks to improve the business climate and quality of life on the continent.

The priorities, which Adesina dubbed the “High 5’s,” are:

  1. Light up and power Africa

This priority is critical to the development of a manufacturing economy, the bank president said.

He noted that more than 645 million Africans do not electricity while energy bottlenecks power shortages cost Africa about two to four percent of gross national product each year, undermining economic growth and job creation.

He said the African Development Bank has launched a program New Deal on Energy for Africa that has investment commitments of $12 billion over the next five years, in addition to public and private partnerships worth about $50 billion.

  1. Feed Africa

With two-thirds of the world’s uncultivated arable land and more than 60 percent of its population involved in agriculture, Africa could become a powerhouse in providing food to the world, Adesina said.

Nevertheless, many on the continent suffer from malnutrition and African nations are forced to import food at a high cost, some $35 billion annually.

Adesina said African leaders must change their strategy from thinking about agriculture as a way of managing poverty to treating it like a business to generate wealth and diversify economies.

  1. Industrialize Africa

In sub-Saharan Africa, manufacturing accounts for only 11 percent of economic output on the continent and less than two percent of global output.

However, without infrastructure, power, and a supportive business environment, Africa will continue to import manufactured goods that might otherwise be made in Africa, Adesina said.

  1. Integrate Africa

Adesina said the fragmentation of African economies is holding back progress and integration will be critical to driving industrialization.

He called on African governments to implement regional and inter-regional agreements that would remove barriers to integration.

He said the African Development Bank would continue to invest in regional infrastructure and work with regional partners to facilitate integration of trade and transport.

  1. Improve the quality of life for Africans

Adesina said the bank will accelerate its investments in vocational training and education to help drive economic development.

The centerpiece of this effort is the “Jobs for Africa’s Youth Initiative,” a partnership of the development bank, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa and the African Union.

Adesina said the goal of the initiative goal is to reach 50 million young people and create 25 million jobs in the coming decade, to enable young Africans to “realize their economic potential through business incubation and financing.”

Private sector critical to growth

He said the private sector, which accounts for 90 percent of African jobs, must play a major role in the youth education initiative and in the overall development of the economy.

The private sector, he said, accounts for 90 percent of employment on the continent, 80 percent of production and two-third of investments.

He said the bank’s effort to support private enterprise includes investment in private projects. In 2015, the development bank approved private sector projects at a cost of $2.4 million out of a total of $9 billion.

Adesina said the continent is poised for growth in spite of challenges to the global economy and, in Africa, declines in commodity prices and in demand from China.

He said economic growth on the continent will outpace global growth. The global economy is projected to grow by three percent in 2016 while the predicted growth rate for Africa is 4.4 percent this year and five percent in 2017, he said.

Read more

The African CEO Forum 2016

Comments (0) Africa, Business, Featured


The first African CEO Forum Awards held within the continent sees new awards and renewed progress.

The 2016 African CEO Forum and its accompanying award ceremony was a benchmark event in the forum’s 4 year history. Taking place from March 21st to the 22nd, this was the first time the business networking event was held within Africa. The Ivory Coast was chosen to play host to the annual conference of African CEO’s, bankers and developers that aims to continue the continent’s economic growth and innovation.

“We concluded deals worth $30 million”.

Since the inaugural forum of 2012, investors and business figures from across Africa have used the event to form new commercial opportunities, broker deals and establish a stronger network of communication and development among the men and women who are steering African development through the 21st Century.

Official figures indicate that since the first edition of the CEO forum, 70% of all participants have come away having identified new business ventures or actually concluded new deals, with the likes of Felix Bipko of the African Guarantee Fund, finalizing deals worth $30 million in only the first year of the forum’s existence.

The Ivory Coast – progress in the face of adversity

After the third edition of the African CEO Forum broke all attendance records, the 2016 conference aimed to not only break old records but break new ground in bringing the forum to African soil for the first time. The Ivory Coast seemed an obvious choice given that it is seen as the driving force behind the integration of the 15 nations that make up the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), an area that has had the highest economic growth in Africa over the past 5 years.

African CEO Forum founder and President, Amir Ben Yahmed explained the choice of the host nation further:

“[W]e have chosen a country and a region that is showing clear signs of robust economic development. The fact that the African Development Bank is based there …was a further contributing factor.”

However, when terrorist attacks shook the nation on March 14th, the event seemed in jeopardy. But a strong united stance from both the organizers and key political figures within Africa ensured that progress and development continued to triumph over individuals trying to use fear to derail stability.

“We continue our mission.”  – Amir Ben Yahmed

A resolute stance was immediately taken in the wake of the attacks as the organizers made it clear that the event would go ahead and a strong message of solidarity was sent when the respective presidents of The Ivory Coast and Ghana, Alassane Ouattara and Dramani Mahama, confirmed their attendance.

With over 800 participants from across Africa, the forum was a triumph that continues to grow and open up new horizons for African commerce and trade.

The 2016 event added to the existing structure of debates and meetings by introducing new “Deal Rooms” that allow smaller meetings between investors and company owners to forge new links, exchange ideas on fostering growth of their businesses and to put pen to paper on new deals.

“Our future is bright and belongs to us all” – Oba Otudeko.

As always, the forum hosted its annual award ceremony in which a panel of carefully selected figures within African business select the winners of various awards from African CEO of the year to Private Equity Investor of the Year. This year also saw a new award for Young CEO of the year.

Oba Otudeko of the Honeywell Group won CEO of the Year and accepted the award from one of the forum’s major sponsors, Jay Ireland, CEO of General Electric Africa.

Sebastien Kadio-Morokro of Petro-Ivoire was awarded the maiden Young CEO of the Year by Akinwumi Ayodeji Adesina, President of the African Development Bank.

Dangote Group won the African Company of the Year and was presented with their trophy by African CEO Forum President Amir Ben Yahmed.

BGFI Bank was awarded with the African Bank of the Year accolade by Adama Koné, the Ivorian Minister of Economy and Finance.

Emerging Capital Partners took home the prize for the Private Equity Investor of the Year, and were presented with the title by Cheikh Oumar Seydi, the regional director of the International Finance Corporation.

Heineken were rewarded with the title of International Corporation of the Year.

Read more