More than 1200 African businessmen and politicians from almost 40 countries were participating in the 5th International Africa Development forum that took place on 16-17 March in Casablanca, Morocco’s economic hub, under the theme “New Inclusive Growth Models in Africa”. The forum sought to promote trade and investment among African countries, thus urging South-South cooperation and dialogue to address development challenges. Participating countries included Burkina Faso, the Republic of Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Egypt, Madagascar, Rwanda, Senegal and Tunisia.
The opening ceremony was chaired by President of Burkina Faso, Roch Marc Christian Kaboré, who also hailed the “exemplary” relations between Morocco and his country and praised Morocco’s action, under the leadership of HM King Mohammed VI, “who decided to ensure direct investment in Africa, to provide the Kingdom’s contribution to the continent’s development in all sectors.” Mr. Kaboré also stressed that Africa must be in charge of its own future and this should be done particularly through the development of economic activities and the sharing of experience among the diverse countries of the continent.
The event saw about 5,000 business-to-business meetings that dived into the opportunities in Africa particularly in agriculture, energy sector and electrification. The program also included workshops on the role of entrepreneurs in creating shared value in Africa, how to speed up financial inclusion and the role of urbanization fostering social inclusion. On top of the business meetings, discussions and round tables, the conference also featured South-South Cooperation awards that were handed to three African enterprises, which contributed to developing intra-African trade through partnership or productive investment.
The forum also featured awards for the best African young entrepreneurs for their innovation and contribution to sustainable development and society. According to analysts, in order to develop effective trade patterns, Africa must put structural and regulatory reforms high on its agenda and it should also enhance financial integration to speed up efforts leading to intensified exchanges with emerging markets in the rest of the world and among its own countries and regions.