05 Jun 23

2,000 public and private decision-makers gather in Abidjan to accelerate the emergence of the next generation of African champions

Africa’s largest annual private sector gathering opened its doors on Monday June 5 in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire. The event brings together 2,000 participants, including the continent’s leading economic players, as well as heads of state and ministers from several countries. They are invited to discuss the emergence of a new generation of African champions.  

At a time when the proliferation of global crises is accelerating, the priority for the African continent must shift further towards building sovereign, resilient and prosperous economies. To achieve this, the AFRICA CEO FORUM aims to help create the right conditions for the emergence of a new generation of continental champions capable of making their mark on the global economy. Africa’s SMEs, mid-sized companies and large corporates are the main providers of jobs and the essential economic conduit with public authorities. They are also the future standard-bearers of African sovereignty. 

Navigating the crises: From 300 to 3,000: How to deliver the next generation of African Champions”. The AFRICA CEO FORUM invites participants to help shape and implement public policies conducive to the emergence of a new generation of African companies with revenues in excess of one billion dollars, of which there are only 300 on the African continent to date. The AFRICA CEO FORUM brings together over 2,000 participants, including decision-makers from Africa’s largest companies, international investors, multinational executives, heads of state, ministers and representatives of financial institutions, to help implement and intensify public-private dialogue to shape the continent’s autonomy. 

Through panels, thematic working groups, case studies, testimonials and public-private workshops, the leaders attending the forum will address key issues for the rise of a sovereign and competitive Africa. They will propose innovative solutions to turn crisis into opportunity. Special sessions will also be devoted to women leaders, family businesses and start-ups, some of the communities which are critical to achieving this objective. 

“Our hope is that this 9th edition of the Forum will be the occasion for an ambitious public-private dialogue, which will leave no doubt that we can build a united front – private sector, government and institutions – to leverage the private sector as the spearhead in the effort to shore up our economic sovereignty”, declared Amir BEN YAHMED, Chairman of the AFRICA CEO FORUM. 

“It’s in times of crisis that we must be bold and face challenges with determination and innovation. It is in times of crisis that the ideas that will transform our continent germinate. It is in times of difficulty that opportunities are born. Africa has the capacity and the will to emerge stronger from the wave of global economic challenges. To achieve this, the continent’s private and public sectors will need to cooperate and collaborate. IFC will continue to support Africa and help the continent leverage its strengths to fight climate change, strengthen food security and foster sustainable and inclusive growth,” said Makhtar Diop, IFC Chief Executive Officer. 

For two days, several Africa’s leading personalities will set the pace for debate and discussion. They include: Alassane Ouattara, President of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire; Aziz Akhannouch, Head of Government, Morocco; Alain Claude Bilie-By-Nze, Prime Minister, Republic of Gabon; Joseph Dion Ngute, Prime Minister, Head of Government, Republic of Cameroon; Abdul Samad Rabiu, Executive Chairman, BUA Group; Delphine Traoré, Managing Director, Allianz Africa; Portia Derby, CEO, Transnet; Kuseni Dlamini, Chairman of Massmart Holdings; Samaila Zubairu, CEO of Africa Finance Corporation; Hassanein Hiridjee, CEO of Axian Group; Jérôme Hénique, CEO of Orange Africa and Middle East; Hardy Pemhiwa, CEO of Cassava Technologies; Richard Bielle, CEO of CFAO; Jacques Vermeulen, Managing Director of Coca-Cola Beverages Africa, and many other decision-makers from all over Africa and the world. 

The 2023 edition of the AFRICA CEO FORUM also announced the evolution of the event into a year-round platform to maximize its impact in the service of a sovereign Africa. The AFRICA CEO FORUM will mobilize its members around initiatives that are critical to African development by: securing a place at the table for African business in global decision-making forums; tackling institutional and policy obstacles to growth through public-private dialogue; and, promoting a responsible African private sector as the engine of the continent’s prosperity.