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FIAD : opening of the 6th Edition

Release : 15/03/2019

Under the Theme : « When East meets West »

Casablanca - March 14, 2019 - Under the High Patronage of His Majesty the King Mohammed VI, May God assist Him, the 6th edition of the International Africa Development Forum, organized by the Attijariwafa bank group and under the impetus of its reference shareholder, the Pan-African Private Investment Fund Al Mada, was opened today under the theme « When East meets West ».

Launched in 2010, and taking place annually since 2015, the Africa Development Forum has established itself as the reference platform for dialogue, investment promotion and intra-African trade. 

From one edition to the next, the Forum has provided many opportunities for exchanges and investments between economic operators on the continent and its partners. Since its creation, the Forum has brought together more than 7,500 operators from 36 countries and generated more than 17,000 business meetings.

The launch of this 6th edition is chaired by His Excellency Julius Maada Bio, President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, guest of honor, accompanied by a distinguished delegation including the Minister of Finance, M. Jacob Jusu Saffa, the Minister of Trade and Industry, M. Peter Bayuku Konteh, as well as the Chairman and CEO of the Sierra Leone Investment and Export Promotion Agency (SLIEPA), M. Lexmond Koroma. This edition is also marked by the presence of many ministers from several countries of the Continent.

Kicking off this new edition, His Excellency Julius Maada Bio, President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, expressed « his sincere gratitude to the Kingdom of Morocco for hosting such a remarkable event » and congratulated « the Leadership and Vision of His Majesty the King Mohammed VI may God assist Him » and praised « the commitment of the Attijariwafa Bank group to the development of the African continent ».

In his opening address, M. Mohamed El Kettani, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Attijariwafa bank group, stated : « While the global economy experienced a period of expansion in 2018, the world seems to have once again entered a period of slowdown and increasing uncertainty. Indeed, the escalation of trade tensions, the questions surrounding growth in Asia and Brexit, seem to be at the origin of international institutions’ downward revisions of the rates of economic growth and global trade. This has been accompanied by high volatility in oil and commodity prices since August 2018, driven in particular by geopolitical tensions, as well as by tighter financial conditions in emerging countries ».

He added : « This combination of opportunities and threats facing our continent underscores more than ever the need for structural reforms and enhanced economic integration in order to further unleash the energies that create wealth and value ».

At the end of his speech, the Chairman invited all participants to reaffirm « our belief in a common integrated space of hope and promise, against the protectionist temptations at work at the international level. Let us invest in our human capital, in the advancement of African women, in the enhancement of our infrastructure, and in the implementation of credible governance schemes. Let us work towards the implementation of concrete projects, with well thought-out co-location ensuring job creation and expertise transfer ».

In his speech, M. Mohcine Jazouli, Deputy Minister in charge of African Cooperation, stressed that « talking about Africa today seems obvious. But ten years ago, however, it was necessary to be farsighted and bold to offer our continent this space, this platform for reflection and exchange, which has brought so many opportunities to the fore ». He added, « Your initiative, M. Chairman, reflects in my actions the constant will of His Majesty the King Mohammed VI may God assist Him, to see Africa embark on a virtuous path of economic development and progress ».

For his part, M. Abdallah Boureima, President of the West African Economic and Monetary Union Commission, presented WAMU’s history, evolution and accomplishments. He also recalled the advantages of this regional grouping and its role in creating value within the Union and pointed out that « the services sector, particularly Moroccan banks, has contributed to the growth of the countries of our Union ». And to conclude his intervention, he expressed his recommendations for addressing the challenges that Africa must overcome for a better inclusion of the respective populations.

Dr Aklilu Hailemichael, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs in charge of Economic Affairs and Diaspora in Ethiopia, took the floor and stressed the importance of « cooperation and free trade areas as important and indispensable elements for the economic and political stability of the continent ».

Ms. Khoudia Mbaye, Minister of Investment Promotion, Partnerships and Development of State Tele-Services in Senegal, spoke on behalf of M. Macky Sall, President of the Republic of Senegal and his Prime Minister, M. Mohamed Boune Abdallah Dione to « thank the Attijariwafa bank group for its efforts to address the continent's most important challenges, namely the financing of investment and the development of intra-African trade ».

Finally, H.E. Li Li, Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China stated during his contribution that he was delighted that « both Morocco and China are advocating for pluralism and endeavoring to support Africa in its development » ; and that « a tripartite cooperation would enrich bilateral relations and would benefit the African and Chinese people ».
Hence, 2,000 African and international economic and institutional operators from 30 countries are taking part in this 6th edition of the International Africa Development Forum 2019, which is spanning 2 days.

The Africa Development Club, which constitutes an extension of the Forum, also provides its services to its 3,000 members all year long. Such services include business meetings, sectoral missions, networking platforms and access to information in all the countries where Attijariwafa bank is established and beyond. With regard to the Club, Ms. Mouna Kadiri noted that « the Forum has a particular singularity, as it brings us together through 3 dimensions ; the first being the discussion on concrete issues involving high level experts, the second being business meetings connecting African companies and the third being the Investment Marketplace ».

For this 6th edition, taking into consideration the current global economic reconfigurations, the challenges and opportunities relating to the development of the continent, and the African Continental Free Trade Zone project, distinguished economic experts and political leaders examined the rationale behind intra-regional integration in terms of value creation and opportunities through 2 plenaries and various panels :

Plenary 1 : « Accelerate economic regional integration » ;

Plenary 2 : « The positive impact, guarantor of solidarity and responsible growth ».

Referring to the panels, the novelty announced during the 6th edition of the Forum is the panel entitled « Stand up for African Women Entrepreneurs », which addresses the challenges faced by African women entrepreneurs in order to federate everyone’s energy and support women’s entrepreneurship. « Stand up for African Women Entrepreneurs » is a token of appreciation and support of African women’s commitment and their determination to actively contribute to the development of the African continent. The second panel will address « Digital, a lever of growth in Africa : contribution of young African startuppers ».

Following these plenaries, recommendations will be formulated and transcribed in the form of a White Paper, intended to all the relevant African decision-makers.

Alongside the plenaries is the « Investment Marketplace », « the B to B meetings » and the « Signing of conventions ». This year, the « Investment Marketplace » is featuring Sierra Leone as a guest of honor, and 7 other African countries : Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mali and Rwanda that are presenting their national development plans as well as investment opportunities in key high growth sectors in order to achieve their development goals.

And following the example of the previous editions, the Forum is an opportunity for valuable business interactions among economic operators. More than 4,000 B to B meetings have been scheduled confirming the interest of operators in this event.

Finally, the « South-South Cooperation Awards Ceremony » will reward the leading companies committed to development of Intra-African trade and investments and the « Young Entrepreneur Awards Ceremony » will reward the ambition and drive of young entrepreneurs and project leaders at the African level.

Furthermore, the International Africa Development Forum is a privileged opportunity for the Attijariwafa bank Foundation to raise awareness of the role of culture in economic exchanges. For this 6th edition, it invites one to a journey from East to West, from North to South, through a selection of 33 artists featuring young emerging talent from the Continent and the diaspora, as well as well-established artists.

In partnership with the Arkane Association, « Travel Weast » offers a number of perspectives on themes such as the strong commitment of women, environmental issues and access to energy, immigration and globalization. Through this 6th edition of the International Africa Development Forum, the Attijariwafa bank group renews its commitment to contribute in a sustainable manner, alongside the economic and political community, to the intra-continental dynamic.

Through this 6th edition of the International Africa Development Forum, the Attijariwafa bank group renews its commitment to contribute in a sustainable manner to the intra-continental dynamic, thus boosting South-South cooperation, alongside the economic and political community.

Source : Attijariwafa bank