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WATCH: More than 50 head of states set to attend WEF Africa

Business Report logo Business Report 2019-09-03 Nneka Jonas and Mary Jane Mphahlele
Key economic issues to be addressed at WEF Africa in Cape Town. PHOTO: GCIS © Provided by Independent Media Key economic issues to be addressed at WEF Africa in Cape Town. PHOTO: GCIS

South Africa will this week be one of the African countries to host more than 50 state leaders at the World Economic Forum in Cape Town, the first to be held in sub-Saharan Africa since 2017.

With elections taking place in more than 20 African countries, the world’s youngest continent is confronted with a replacement era. 

Whereas important political and economic progress has been created, the continent continues to face important challenges. The WEF is expected to address some of these challenges, under the theme Shaping Inclusive Growth and Shared Futures in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

The 28th World Economic Forum on Africa will be held from  4-6 September 2019. It will tackle challenges faced by African countries, by focusing on how to scale up the transformation of regional architecture related to smart institutions, investment, integration, industry and innovation. 

Under the theme, Shaping comprehensive Growth and Shared Futures within the Fourth historic period, the forum will address the African Union’s Agenda 2063 regional strategic priorities below four program tracks:

  • Innovation: Readiness for the Fourth technological revolution
  • Cooperation: Sustainable Development & Environmental place
  • Growth: digitalization & Competitive Industries
  • Stability: Leadership & Institutional Governance

WEF is a self-sufficient, international organization whose aim is to contribute to a number of positive outcomes within the world by focusing on business, political leaders, academia and alternative leaders of society.

The discussions will also focus on key industries and the launch of the first African Affiliate Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution in South Africa. 

One major risk of this year's event is the sharp drop-off in world trade growth, which fell from over 5% at the beginning of 2018 to just about zero at the end. With the anticipated increase in trade conflicts, a contraction in world trade might drag down on the world economy even more.

Currently 54 heads of states across the globe are invited and 6 have already confirmed their attendance. A number of ministers (Foreign Affairs and Finance) from different countries are also expected to attend this event, however the numbers are not yet confirmed.

Helping guide talks on Africa’s regional priorities are: Sipho M Pityana, Chairman of AngloGold Ashanti in South Africa; Arancha Gonzalez Laya, Executive Director of the International Trade Centre, Geneva; Jeremy Farrar, Director of the UK-based Wellcome Trust; André Hoffmann, Vice-Chairman of Roche, Switzerland; Ellen Agler, CEO of The END Fund; Jim Ovia, Chairman of Nigeria’s Zenith Bank; and Alex Liu, Managing Partner and Chairman of AT Kearney.

Every year, the organization seeks out change-makers within the graft, insight and the potential to improve the state of the world. 

Here are some of the 2019 Class of Young Global Leaders who will be expected to attend. 

Umra Omar who founded the Safari Doctors to provide basic health and services in conflict-ridden Lamu County, Kenya, Victoria Alonsoperez who is an engineer and inventor. She founded Chipsafer, a platform that helps farmers track their livestock's behavior to detect anomalies, David Moinina Sengeh who is the first national Chief Innovation Officer of his country, Sierra Leone, and also the African continent. He heads the recently formed Directorate for Science, Technology, and Innovation and serves as an adviser to the president of Sierra Leone. 

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