‘The seventh African Business Forum (ABF) took place in conjunction with the Southern African Development Community (SADC). Focusing on the theme “SADC: Regional Integration and Drivers for Growth” the Forum attracted a capacity crowd to see President Hifikepunye Pohamba of Namibia and the present Chair of SADC, led a Forum debate that acknowledged the region’s weaknesses but also celebrated its successes with the African Business Awards and the signing of a new Memorandum of Understanding between TransNamib Railway Dundee Precious Metals International and worth $23M over 10 years. This made the Forum a particularly successful event for all those associated with African business.
The Forum agreed that the challenges to development faced by most SADC states, and African countries in general, remain the same. However, with the increasing recovery in the global economy, the regional SADC programmes, especially in the areas of infrastructure development will become much more important in integrating the region.
President Hifikepunye Pohamba, who opened the Forum, stated that SADC was poised to enact further economic reforms that have already helped the region to have an average GDP growth rate of 6 per cent in 2010. He also promised that regional leaders would now “…continue to do more
This determination to make SADC a good place to do business was echoed by Minister Henry Bellingham from the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, “SADC, is well placed to catalyse a recovery. It includes some of the world’s fastest growing economies with members sharing principles of democracy, rule of law, good governance and similar legal systems. These provide solid foundations for doing business and a platform for trade, investment, development and in turn prosperity.”
The 2011 Africa Business Forum closed with business roundtables covering agribusiness, energy, transport, and a showcase of investment opportunities across Namibia.
The Forum thanked the Royal Commonwealth Club for hosting the event and the organisers, the Commonwealth Business Council, the SADC Secretariat and the Namibia Investment Centre Secretariat.
The Forum also expressed thanks to the event sponsors, Investec.’
Trade Out of Poverty was pleased to have had the opportunity to attend a number of the Forum’s sessions, and looks forward to collaborating with the CBC in the Autumn.