L-R: Steve Radelet, Georgetown University’s Director of Global Human Development Program at the School of Foreign Service; Dr. Mima S. Nedelcovych, President of the Initiative for Global Development (IGD); Florizelle Liser, CEO of the Corporate Council on Africa (CCA); and Salem Ben Nasser Al-Ismaily, Chairman and CEO of Ithraa
“If USA says America first, UK says England first, then Africa has to say Africa first!” declared IGD President Mima S. Nedelcovych during the closing plenary session at the 2nd Annual Georgetown University African Business Conference on February 4, in Washington, D.C.
More than 500 leaders from business, government, nonprofits and academia gathered for the full-day conference, “A Time for Ownership: The Future of Business and Governance in Africa”, sponsored by the Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business in conjunction with the Walsh School of Foreign Service’s African Studies Program. IGD was an organizational partner at the business conference.
This business conference highlighted the successes of Africa’s private sector and explored how good governance in African countries can improve the business environment and investment climate to fuel sustainable economic growth and development.
Nedelcovych delivered his remarks at the session on “The Future of Business in Africa”. Moderated by Steve Radelet, Georgetown University’s Director of Global Human Development Program at the School of Foreign Service, panelists Salem Ben Nasser Al-Ismaily, Chairman and CEO of Ithraa; Florizell Liser, CEO of the Corporate Council on Africa (CCA), offered predictions on trade and investment opportunities, skills development and economic growth prospects on the African continent.
The IGD President urged African nations to move beyond a commodities-based economy to greater industrialization to create urgently needed jobs for African young people and to advance inclusive growth. “The critical part is value addition and industrialization in Africa with the youth bulge,” said Nedelcovych.
Panelists also agreed on the importance of expanding trade within Africa. “We need to have intra-trade before having inter-trade,” implored Al Ismaily of Oman-based Ithraa, on strengthening trade ties within the African region.
Florie Liser, newly-appointed CEO of the Corporate Council on Africa (CCA), spoke out about how African businesses need more access to trade opportunities. “Regional economic integration is the most important thing for Africa in the coming years,” said Liser.
Given the strong consensus that the private sector is viewed as an engine of growth in Africa, Makhtar Diop, World Bank’s Vice President for the Africa region, stated in the morning keynote address: “We don’t have time for Afro-pessimism. We need to accelerate growth.”
The Georgetown business conference featured engaging plenary sessions and breakout panels ranging from education, private equity, agribusiness, tourism, private sector and logistics and supply chain.
For more information, please visit www.georgetownafricabusinessconference.com