International conference on Africa’s emergence
Dakar hosted, from 17-19 January, the third edition of the International Conference on the Emergence of Africa (ICEA), which focused on the theme, “Emergence, private sector and inclusiveness.” Organised by the Government of Senegal in collaboration with the African Development Bank, UNDP and the World Bank, the meeting brought together some 1000 African leaders, high-level personalities and experts. The conference shared best practices and took stock of the African countries’ progress towards emergence. “To win the challenge of emergence, we need a mind-set that is to believe in ourselves, to mobilise beneficial partnerships,” declared Senegal’s President Macky Sall during the opening ceremony. Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita recalled that his country invests 15% of its GDP in the agricultural sector. However, Mali processes only 2% of its massive cotton crop (0.7 million tonnes), a significant loss of value to the country. Industrialisation strategies in Africa face many challenges and bottlenecks. Mario Pezzini, director of the OECD Development Centre, participated in the panel, “What strategies, channels and markets for African national champions?” He recalled the importance of investing in existing national champions without compromising the chances of SME enterprises to further develop. Development involves a large set of different stakeholders in various sectors. “All economic sectors have a role to play for sustainable and inclusive growth in Africa. However, co-ordination is key and African countries will need a precise and co-ordinated programme to ensure effective implementation,” he declared.