The head of the African Development Bank (AfDB) called on the private sector to rally behind the Bank’s bold new agenda for Africa’s economic transformation – known as the “High 5s” – and play a greater role in the continent’s growth story on Oct. 5 at the Initiative for Global Development (IGD)’s Fall Frontier 100 Forum in Washington, DC.
“The private sector will play a critical role in Africa’s economic transformation,” said Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, President of the AfDB, who delivered the challenge in a video keynote address at the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill.
The Fall Frontier 100 Forum, an exclusive, invitation-only biannual event, convened African and global corporate leaders from the IGD Frontier Leader Network and government officials on Oct. 4 and 5 in Washington. IGD is a network of African and global business leaders who are committed to advancing sustainable development and inclusive growth through business investment.
The AfDB’s “High 5s” or top five key development priorities for sustainable transformation include: (1) Light up and power Africa; (2) Feed Africa; (3) Integrate Africa; (4) Industrialize Africa; and (5) Improve the quality of life for the people of Africa.
“Each addresses a fundamental obstacle to Africa’s development, yet present huge opportunities for the private sector,” Adesina said about each priority area.
Dr. Adesina’s keynote address set the stage for a full-day of engaging panel discussions on the Bank’s transformative economic agenda.
Under the theme, “Unleashing an Enabling Environment for Africa’s Private Sector to Achieve Inclusive Growth”, forum sessions focused on creating a business environment for private sector engagement to promote sustainable development and address the “High 5s”, where attendees offered insight and action-oriented strategies on each priority.
Dr. Mima Nedelcovych, IGD President and CEO, said IGD joined forces with the AfDB for the Fall Forum to heighten greater awareness about the “High 5s” among leading private sector leaders and other stakeholders operating on the African continent.
“The Forum provided a tremendous opportunity for business leaders to learn how they can partner with the Bank in realizing the ‘High 5s’ and transforming African economies,” said Nedelcovych. “Our Forums go beyond the typical networking and business discussions. We are all about action and solutions. We know how to solve problems in innovative and collaborative ways.”
To encourage further collaboration with the private sector toward achieving the “High 5s”, Dr. Adesina said: “The opportunities are immense, but unlocking them will take more than the African Development Bank. That is why the partnerships being forged here today by the IGD and all of you here today are so crucial to this new future for Africa. Together, let us give Africa the ‘High 5s’.”
The Forum opened on Oct. 4, with the half-day session, “Chinese Investment in Africa: A Balanced View of China’s Role and Impact on Africa’s Private Sector”, which weighed in on the impact of Chinese investment on the continent and explored the prospects and challenges of trilateral cooperation between Chinese, American, and African companies.
A “Conversation on the Outcomes of the U.S. Africa Business Forum” featured highlights from the event with high-level officials and business leaders who attended the Forum and identified next steps to expand US business engagement with Africa’s homegrown private sector.
Adrienne Gifford, IGD Senior Advisor and principal of Oceti Advisors and Eniola Mafe, Program Manager for the Niger Delta Partnership Initiative Foundation, gave a special presentation on the report findings from a newly-released IGD impact assessment report, “Pioneering New Operating Models and Measurement Techniques for Private Sector-Led Development: Assessing Impact in Nigeria’s Niger Delta”.
The Fall Forum unveiled the Africa Investment Rising (AIR) Campaign, a new IGD communications and advocacy campaign aimed at changing the narrative on doing business in Africa by showcasing the continent’s business and investment potential and amplifying the voices of African private sector leaders through multimedia storytelling and strategic traditional and social media outreach.
The AfDB was the Premier Sponsor and Collaborating Partner of the Forum. The Forum sponsors include Platinum Sponsors The African Export-Import Bank, The Dangote Group, CountourGlobal, and Orrick; Gold SponsorsChevron, African Finance Corporation, International Green Structures,Endeavor Energy, ALPHA BTP, and National Electric and Power Company; Silver Sponsors Covington, Les Eaux Minérales d’Oulmes, Procter & Gamble,Shelter Afrique, Construction Kaiser, SeedCo, Afrimag, and Smith Charles Associates.
The organizational partners are Africa Investor magazine and the US Chamber of Commerce’s US-Africa Business Center. Media partners are Africa Investor,The Africa Report, AllAfrica.com, Asoko Insight, Afrimag Magazine, Pan-African Visions, and AfroPop Worldwide.