The two-day Africa 2018 Forum, which took place on the 8th and 9th of December 2018 at the Maritim Jolie Ville International Congress Center, Sharm El Sheikh Egypt was everything that the organizers and attendees envisioned. The event themed “Bold Leadership and Collective Commitment: Advancing Intra-African Investments” was attended by over 3000 participants including heads of state, finance and investment ministers, senior executives from African corporates and multinationals, as well as global investors, surpassing the number recorded in 2017.
“This event emphasises how much importance Egypt accords to the African continent. It’s been an important platform to enhance the multilateral framework of African countries,” said Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi in his address at the event.
Al Sisi who will chair the African Union (AU) in 2019 revealed that improving African infrastructure and a clear focus on development will be central to his agenda during his tenure as AU chairman.
Highlights from the event
The landmark event started with sessions focused on women and young entrepreneurs across the continent. It also had sessions on ways to attract investment to the continent, which will boost the growth of startups, provide a good business environment for entrepreneurs across the continent and strengthen cross-border economic relations.
The heads of state that attended the event include President Paul Kagame of Rwanda, President Julius Maada Bio of Sierra Leone, President Mahamadou Issoufou of Niger and Acting President Rivo Rakotovao of Madagascar.
President Al Sisi announced the creation of the National Academy to Fight Corruption in Egypt under the auspices of the Administrative Control Authority. He also said that Egypt will establish a risk insurance fund to encourage Egyptian entrepreneurs to invest in other African countries to benefit from the continent’s massive opportunities. The creation of a guarantee fund dedicated to investing in infrastructure, information technology and high-end digitisation of African economies, was also announced at the event.
Thirty agreements were signed on the sidelines of the event. These agreements, worth $3.5 billion were in the fields of entrepreneurship, infrastructure, technical cooperation and financing for small and medium-sized enterprises.
Egypt signed a $1 billion agreement with the World Bank to support the next phase of the country’s reform program and finance the government’s economic development program. The program will create opportunities and raise the standards of living for Egyptians by promoting the private sector and improving government performance.
Telecom Egypt and Liquid Telecom led by Zimbabwe Billionaire Strive Masiyiwa signed a $400 million landmark agreement for developing network infrastructure and a data centre.
The Suez Canal Economic Zone Authority also agreed a $1.25 billion agreement with Tahrir Petrochemical Company, with a concession for the design, construction, operation and maintenance of a multi-purpose terminal at East Port Said Port. It also signed a contract for the development of 10 square kilometer land area of the Economic Zone of the Suez Canal, and another agreement for the storage of petrochemicals on an area of 11,442 square meters in West Port Said.
The General Authority for Investment and Free Zones (GAFI) Egypt signed memoranda of understanding with Ethiopia and Uganda, for cooperation in investment.
Egypt signed three agreements with the European Union, the European Investment Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.
The Kuwait Development Fund also inked agreements with Egypt for several projects, including the establishment of the Bahr al-Bakar water system and four new desalination plants. It also signed agreements for the Mangoky River Bridge Project with Madagascar, the Cocody Bay Development Project with Côte d’Ivoire, and the Mangochi Drinking Water Extension Project with Malawi.
Sameh Shoukry, Egypt’s minister of foreign affairs, gave his closing remarks by stating the importance of infrastructure in aviation, energy and roads in accelerating trade between African countries.
Pictures from the event