THE SIGNIFICANCE OP THE THREE day World Economic Forum on Africa cannot be overstated. Year after year, for the past two decades, the forum has brought together the most influential leaders in business, government, civil society and academia, to discuss the way forward and how to make positive change happen in Africa.
"The World Economic Forum on Africa is an important opportunity to take the pulse each year of the most influential of Africa's stakeholders. We look forward to holding the meeting in Tanzania at a time when the whole East Africa region is expected to experience stronger growth," says Andre Schneider, managing director of the World Economic Forum.
Host president Jakaya Kikwete is also enthusiastic about the forum: "It is an honour for Tanzania to host the 2010 World Economic Forum on Africa. We are looking forward to welcoming the community, which I am confident will continue to make important contributions in our collective quest for a better world."
The economic crisis, according to the WEF, has led to a reassessment of the systems governing global cooperation, financial architecture, and policies linked to trade and climate change, and it is "a wake-up call to speed up implementation of long-discussed reforms".
The organisers believe that the complex and evolving economic landscape and emerging markets (including those from Africa) are among the first to show signs of a recovery and are forecast to contribute to global growth in the next decade.
How leaders are rising to the challenge and using the crisis, as an opportunity to redesign a sustainable roadmap for Africa's future within the new global economy, is one of the major questions that the forum--under the theme, "Rethinking Africa's Growth Strategy"--will be addressing.
Other discussions will be on how African countries are managing relations with key economic partners, with an increasing trend towards greater South-South cooperation; identifying the opportunities that can unlock Africa's growth potential; and looking at barriers to social and economic progress in the coming year.
The forum will also look at "Africa's destabilising factors" in view of the unfortunate fact that some parts of the continent continue to be affected by conflict. As such, participants will be looking at what global and African institutions can do to mitigate both social and economic costs, born of these elements. …