The theme of the meeting is Shaping Inclusive Growth and Shared Futures in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
The meeting will be the first that the World Economic Forum has held in sub-Saharan Africa since 2017, when leaders from government, business and civil society from around the world gathered in Durban, South Africa.
This year’s meeting falls in a year when 20 elections will take place across the region, and nearly 100 days since South African President Cyril Ramaphosa took office.
While progress has been made politically in sub-Saharan Africa, economic growth is also expected to accelerate modestly in 2019 from 3.1% in 2018 to an average of 3.6% in 2019, according to the World Bank.
Against this backdrop, the World Economic Forum on Africa will address a number of key issues facing the region’s inclusive development.
- Supporting growth and integration through the African Continental Free Trade Area
- Creating high-quality employment opportunities and protecting workers in the Fourth Industrial Revolution
- Employing drones to address health, infrastructure and other societal needs
- Using emerging technologies to advance healthcare and prepare for epidemics
- Implementing growth strategies that address environmental challenges and deliver industrialization
The Co-Chairs of the meeting are:
- Ellen Agler, Chief Executive Officer, The END Fund, USA
- Jeremy Farrar, Director, Wellcome Trust, United Kingdom
- Arancha Gonzalez Laya, Executive Director, International Trade Centre (ITC), Geneva · André Hoffmann, Vice-Chairman, Roche, Switzerland
- Alex Liu, Managing Partner and Chairman, A.T. Kearney, USA
- Jim Ovia, Chairman, Zenith Bank, Nigeria
- Sipho M Pityana, Chairman, AngloGold Ashanti, South Africa
“Africa’s successful development depends on building the right conditions for its new generation of entrepreneurs, innovators and leaders. This means smart, agile institutions; an enabling environment for innovation that includes access to skills and capital; and a determined approach by policy-makers to level the playing field and implement policies that prioritize sustainable, inclusive growth over short-term imperatives,” said Elsie Kanza, Head of the Regional Agenda, Africa, and Member of the Executive Committee at the World Economic Forum.
Koketso Ramorei is a journalist and news editor of SADC News with years of experience in a number of genres including sports, politics and community reporting. He has worked for a numerous publications including The Citizen Newspaper and is a former editor of a Johannesburg-based off-campus publication called The Waldorfian Times.