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LIBREVILLE, Gabon, June 26, 2012/ – During the build-up to the G20 Summit in Mexico and the Rio+20 Summit in Brazil, over 600 economic, financial and political policymakers met on 8-10 June in Libreville, Gabon, for the first New York Forum AFRICA (http://www.ny-forum-africa.com).
Throughout 30 hours of debates and taskforce meetings, the participants of the New York Forum AFRICA discussed the key issues facing the African continent: the facts behind the African take-off, the different economic models that can thrive there, regional integration, natural resources, agriculture, innovation and entrepreneurship, human capital, the relations between Africa and the United States and China, the energy equation, foreign investment, safety and governance requirements and the role of the next generation of political and economic policymakers on this continent and the African diaspora.
A number of ideas and initiatives have begun to germinate in the New York Forum AFRICA but the participants have also formulated specific proposals in five key areas:
SMEs are levers for a prosperous economy and the driving force for job creation. In most African countries, the role of SMEs and the entrepreneurs behind them should receive greater attention.
Everyone agrees to recognise the importance of greater regional integration in Africa to defend the continent’s interests with a clearer and more confident voice, to encourage free movement of capital, to open job markets and to harmonise and reduce trade barriers. However, progress is still tentative in most African countries. The following proposals have been formulated:
The African economic boom should be matched by a stronger presence in the continent’s major political and economic institutions. For its part, Africa must strive to improve its image overseas.
There is an emerging private sector in many African countries but it is all too often overlooked during public debate. The government must continue to play a strategic role, but it must be linked to the private sector in an inclusive partnership. Proposals include:
From an environmental and economic standpoint, Africa has the opportunity to pave a path that differs from that of other continents. Its abundant renewable energy resources, particularly water and solar energy, are fundamental to bridge the gap between energy supply and demand. A sustainable approach is also needed to cope with the pace and scope of urbanisation.
Although these proposals reflect the significant work and effort yet to be accomplished, the predominant tone at the New York Forum AFRICA was optimistic and resolutely forward-looking.
The community that has grown up around the New York Forum AFRICA is highly motivated and committed to supporting the development of African economies and to help facilitate and guide this development. It also intends to make its counterparts and friends from other continents understand the extraordinary opportunities that a partnership with Africa can provide.
Distributed by the African Press Organization on behalf of Richard Attias & Associates.
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