• Harley McKenson-Kenguéléwa

World’s Top Business Leaders to gather in Kigali | Africa CEO Forum | March 25-26, 2019

Mis à jour : mai 2

Some of the most influential business leaders from Africa and around the world will head to Kigali for the 7th edition of the Africa CEO Forum (ACF2019) that kicks off on 25-26 March 2019. During its two days, the conference, that will be held under the theme of " African economic integration ", will bring together speakers from various fields to share ideas, network and collaborate, for the purpose of changing Africa for the better.

Photo Credits : Africa CEO Forum ( ACF2019 )

If the Kigali Convention Center (KCC) is gearing up to host the upcoming edition of the Africa CEO Forum, the Rwandan capital city has the opportunity to enhance more than ever its reputation for being one of the business friendly and hyper-connected cities in Africa. Hence, the organizers make every effort to ensure that the event will be both memorable and wildly successful. The Forum culminates on the evening of March 25 with the Africa CEO Forum Awards gala, which salutes entrepreneurs and investors who have built some of Africa’s most successful companies. The two-day event, organised by both Jeune Afrique Media Group, the Africa Report and Rainbow Unlimited — a Swiss company that specializes in investment promotion — will bring together inspiring business people, young entrepreneurs, iconic visionaries, heads of state & government representatives, senior decision-makers, institutional investors, economic experts and import-export professionals.

According to a ACF 2018 press release, the event is designed to be « the largest international gathering of CEOs and investors from the African private sector » who share an abundance of insights and engage in discussions about solutions tackling the continent's majors issues, giving businesses a boost, increasing opportunities for high-paid jobs and creating sustainable economic growth.

The forum will feature a who’s who of prominent business, finance and innovation professionals, including Ibukun Awosika, Chairman, First Bank of Nigeria, Amy Jadesimi the Lagos Deep Offshore Logistics Base (LADOL), Nadia Fettah, Chairman of Saham Finances, Diane Karusisi CEO of the Bank of Kigali, Patrick Njoroge, governor of the Central Bank of Kenya, Prof. Benedict Oramah, President of Afreximbank, Kuseni Dlamini, Chairman of Massmart, Naguib Sawiris,Egyptian investor, Tewolde GebreMariam, CEO of Ethiopian Airlines, Junior John Ngulube, CEO of Sanlam Emerging Market, Joshua Oigara, CEO of Kenya Commercial Bank and Jim Ovia, founder of Zenith Bank ( Source : Jeune Afrique).

Kigali, an attractive place to invest

Who could have imagined, back in 1994, that Rwanda would become, a quarter of a century later, one of Africa's fastest-growing economies and was named among the easiest places in the world to do business, just ahead of France, Russia and Spain, according to the World Bank's latest Ease of Doing Business rankings (2019) ? The decision to make Kigali the ACF 2019 host city could be interpreted as a strong signal to the whole world that countries should strengthen relations with Africa, a continent that has become the new epicenter where China, India, South Korea or Turkey’ s investors have already refocused their strategy.

« This 7th edition will therefore be held at the heart of the continent, in Rwanda, a country both francophone and anglophone, whose economic dynamism and development model anchored in education, innovation and performance perfectly reflect the values of the Africa CEO Forum » explains Amir Ben Yahmed, initiator of this event.

Rwanda occupies a key strategic position in East Africa as hub for global trade, giving investors and entrepreneurs immediate access to the large Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) of 500 million customers.

Several successful project examples, such as Mergims, AC Group ltd, Irembo, GiraICT, SafeMotos, including startups which are born in Kigali’s tech hub KLab, stand as a symbol of the Land of a Thousand Hills’ rebirth and the rise of the African Tech Scene. In addition, one of the advantages local businesses and foreign-owned subsidiaries is that Rwanda notched up full marks for property registration, according to the World Bank's Doing Business 2019 report.

The local authorities aim to digitize all administrative services in order to cut red tape. Furthermore, Rwanda has become the first African country, outside China, to benefit from the Electronic World Trade Platform (eWTP) a new trading platform built by China's e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd giving local businesses the sell products directly to the Chinese market, which makes them more competitive in the global retail landscape and cement the country’s reputation as an new epicenter of technological innovation and entrepreneurship in Africa.