The fifth edition of the Global Business Forum on Africa in Dubai will explore the resurgence of the continent as a major economic zone
Business confidence is returning to Africa. Impressive entrepreneurs have sprung up across the continent, changing reality on the ground. Forward-thinking policy-makers are implementing solutions to problems that have hindered progress for decades. Both business and government leaders are leveraging digital technologies and working across borders to achieve connectivity and scale. With the right support, Africa has the potential to open a new era of growth and prosperity.
The fifth edition of the Global Business Forum on Africa, which is being organised by Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry under the theme “Scale up Africa”, explores what it will take to make that happen, building on its legacy as the pivotal destination for business, finance and government leaders to identify opportunities and nurture links between Africa and Dubai.
Held under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, the forum takes place at Dubai’s Madinat Jumeirah.
The forum features 40 prominent speakers and 26 interactive sessions, with the presidents of Liberia, Zimbabwe and Seychelles and Reem Al Hashimy, Minister of State for International Cooperation and Director-General of Expo 2020 Dubai, among the high-level attendees headlining the event.
Enhancing economic ties
Majid Saif Al Ghurair, Chairman of Dubai Chamber, will kick off the forum with a welcome address focusing on expanding UAE-Africa trade ties, which will be followed by the opening session entitled “Scale Up Africa – Building on the Next Generation”. Hamad Buamim, President and CEO of Dubai Chamber, will participate in a session showcasing the achievements of the GBF Mentorship Programme.
The forum is the largest event of its kind in the region, providing a platform for constructive dialogue between public and private sector stakeholders. Alongside the the three heads of state, one prime minister and 27 African ministers, will attend the forum. The forum aims to explore new ways of expanding trade and investment ties, and enhance economic cooperation between the Middle East and Africa, while seeking solutions for challenges facing African countries as they open their economies to international trade and investment.
Buamim said that the strong high-level participation and the impressive line-up of speakers and sessions at the upcoming forum only adds to the event’s significance and reach.
“GBF Africa 2019 will engage leading decision makers and key stakeholders in a constructive dialogue that is designed to examine bilateral business opportunities and lay the groundwork for new partnerships that can support Africa’s economic development and benefit UAE firms that have their sights on African markets,” he said.
Sessions on the first day will delve into the concept of leapfrogging and look at whether technology and entrepreneurship are enough to unleash Africa’s economic potential and bring about inclusive growth.
The forum will also explore the potential for technology to accelerate growth across the continent, while the event seeks to forge long-term partnerships to fill market gaps and fuel economic growth and development.
Other sessions scheduled to be held during the two-day forum will take a closer look at key trends and issues impacting Africa such as collaboration needed to support entrepreneurial ecosystems and foster innovation; the role of youth and digital technologies in transforming governments and economic potential; economic reforms and changing geopolitical dynamics emerging across African countries; growing momentum behind Africa’s shift from a net food importer to a global food producer; potential impact of the newly-launched African Continental Free Trade Agreement on trade and cost of doing business; and expert recommendations for scaling up energy infrastructure across the continent, among others.
KEY SESSIONS – WHAT’S ON THE AGENDA?
SCALE UP AFRICA – BUILDING ON THE NEXT GENERATION
This session, which will open the forum and introduce the theme and structure of this year’s event, will be led by Sangu Delle, CEO of Golden Palm Investments in Ghana. Scale Up Africa will highlight the entrepreneurial energy, the new generation of policymakers and innovative technology have brought new solutions to the big challenges that were hindering growth across Africa.
RESHAPING THE FUTURE – THE WORLD OF DIGITAL DISRUPTION
Digital technology, and the innovation it unleashes, is transforming Africa’s economic potential. It improves market access and allows organisations to accelerate progress in everything from agriculture to education and healthcare. This session explores the potential of digital and highlight the new approaches needed to make it a reality.
RETHINKING GOVERNMENT – WORKING WITH THE NEW GUARD
Over the past decade, young entrepreneurs tended to face an old guard in government that saw the world differently from them. This session explores the growing number of young people who are entering public service with the idea of leveraging digital technology and cooperating with entrepreneurs to transform governments and their countries.
FINDING THE SWEET SPOT – MOMENTUM FOR CHANGE
This session will explore what African start-ups are able to achieve alone, and where collaboration could accelerate their ability to scale and tackle the continent’s biggest problems, while thriving as businesses. Is Africa at a sweet spot of opportunity with innovative small businesses working around the barriers and coming up with solutions? Or is the continent at an inflexion point where, without more collaboration and support, entrepreneurs could lose momentum?
GBF MENTORSHIP PROGRAMME
In this session, the President and Chief Executive Officer of Dubai Chamber explains how and why the GBF Mentorship Programme was set up. Launched in 2018, the programme was launched to help dynamic startups in both Africa and Dubai to explore business opportunities between the regions.