Heads of State, Business Leaders to Gather for Africa 2017

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By Dipo Olowookere

The Ministry of Investment and International Cooperation of Egypt and COMESA Regional Investment Agency have announced holding a high-level forum offering participants an unparalleled platform for promoting trade and investment within Africa.

Tagged Africa 2017, the forum, which takes place from December 7-9, 2017, in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, would be headlined by President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi.

The three-day conference will convene high-level delegations of leaders in business and policy from across Africa and worldwide, including heads of state and some of the most important CEOs of the continent.

 Africa 2017 will kick-off with a Young Entrepreneurs Day (YED) that will bring together emerging entrepreneurs with more established ones, in addition to mentors, start-up hubs, angel investors and venture capital firms, to share ideas, network and help drive further the business ideas of tomorrow.

The Africa 2017 YED has partnered with top-notch incubators, entrepreneurship programmes and VC funds.

Egypt is known across Africa and the Middle East to have developed pro-innovation ecosystems where emerging entrepreneurs have been able to flourish.

 In 2015, Egypt hosted the Tripartite Summit where a free trade agreement was signed, bringing together three regional economic communities, SADC, EAC and COMESA, effectively creating, with its 26 Member States, the largest trading block on the continent. This ‘borderless economy’ would rank as 15th in the world in terms of GDP.

 Speaking on the Forum, Dr Sahar Nasr, Egypt’s Minister of Investment and International Cooperation, reiterated the African opportunity based on business-minded reforms taking place across the continent: “The Forum has the objective of promoting investments into our continent, and especially cross-border investments. In Egypt, we have undertaken an ambitious economic reform programme, of which a key ingredient is improving the business environment and overall country competitiveness. Such efforts go hand-in-hand with our commitment to serve as a strategic gateway for Africa and the world.”

As part of the Forum, Egypt will be showcasing its flagship mega-projects including the construction of a new capital city 45km outside of Cairo, and a number of industrial and special economic zone projects along the Suez Canal, among others.

This forum reinforces Egypt’s commitment to support and enhance the economic and cultural integration of Africa and to spur investment into what is still one of the fastest growing regions in the world.

Commenting on the sustained investor confidence with regards to Africa and the Forum, Heba Salama, COMESA Regional Investment Agency Director, says that “Africa, and in particular the COMESA Region, continues to offer some of the best returns on investment in the world. Africa 2017 will be an unparalleled occasion to gather the architects of Africa’s future and drive further the transformative investment projects of tomorrow.”

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