Head of State to grace CEO Africa Roundtable President E.D Mnangagwa

Nqobile Bhebhe, [email protected]

PRESIDENT Mnangagwa is scheduled to headline the 10th annual CEO Africa Roundtable in Victoria Falls tomorrow, which will focus on the impact of Artificial Intelligence, boosting trade through the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and strategies to make off-grid renewables appealing to the private sector, among other key areas.

The CEO Africa Roundtable serves as a high-level platform for senior executives in both public and private sectors, fostering the exchange of critical economic and business knowledge within Africa and beyond.

It provides members and business leaders with opportunities for in-person and digital events, expert insights, networking, deal structuring and the exchange of ideas and experiences
This year’s edition is held under the theme: “The Future of Africa: Modernise, Reshape and Grow.”

During the three day conference, participants are expected to tackle the impact of Artificial Intelligence and powering trade through AfCFTA, rethinking the Financial Architecture of Africa and making off-grid renewables attractive to the private sector, among other key topics.
On AI, the organisers said: “Africa is playing a central role in the global AI supply chain, particularly in the early production phase. AI has the potential to contribute up to US$15,7 trillion to the global economy by the year 2030.

“Notably, Africa stands to gain a substantial share of this economic impact, with an estimated US$1,2 trillion attributed to the continent. This forecast indicates a notable 5,6 percent rise in Africa’s GDP by 2030”.

The global spotlight is on AI and African leaders have an opportunity to secure the resources needed to make positive changes, organisers said.

To support local AI capacity favouring local economies and ecosystems, policy responses to AI should build on national digital agendas and prioritise inclusive digital, data and computing infrastructure and skills development.

AfCFTA, which seeks to create a single market for goods and services, facilitate the movement of capital and enhance economic co-operation among African countries, is viewed as a game changer for the African continent.

The single continental market has a population of about 1,3 billion people and a combined Gross Domestic Product of approximately US$3,4 trillion.

It is one of the flagship projects of African Union Agenda 2063: The Africa we want, the long-term development strategy for transforming the continent into a global powerhouse.

The AfCFTA will be the world’s largest new free trade area since the establishment of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in 1994.

“Thus, the AfCFTA is a game-changer for the African continent and year 2024 presents yet another opportunity to strengthen partnerships, mobilise resources, facilitate intra-African trade and promote the utilisation of the AfCFTA by economic operators through unceasing engagement that will sustain the high momentum around the AfCFTA,” said the organisers.

They noted that despite the persistent geo-political dynamics and economic headwinds, the future of Africa holds immense potential for modernisation, reshaping and growth.

“With its rich natural resources, exposure to the emerging digital economy, a youthful population and increasing regional integration efforts, Africa is poised to become a global economic powerhouse and a hub of innovation across sectors.

“A major irony of African development history is that the theories and models employed have largely come from outside the continent. No other region of the world has been so dominated by external ideas and models,” organisers noted.

“A growing number of institutions and scholars have expressed serious concerns about this foreign domination, issuing a clarion call for Africans to lead in the reform process and to think for themselves.”
Further, they advocate for a re-imagined Africa, based on leveraging various resource assets and embracing the growing green digital economy.

“Africa’s potential lies in economic diversification, technology and innovation, human capital development, regional integration, governance and institutions, social inclusion and sustainable development,” they said.

There is consensus that the future of Africa is promising, but it requires concerted efforts from governments, private sectors, civil society and international partners.

By embracing modernisation, reshaping key sectors and fostering sustainable growth, Africa can position itself as a dynamic continent that offers vast opportunities for its people and contributes significantly to global progress.

Key speakers at the conference include Industry and Commerce Minister Nqobizitha Mangaliso Ndlovu, Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development Minister Professor Amon Murwira, Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services Minister Tatenda Mavetera, Econet Wireless Zimbabwe group CEO, Dr Douglas Mboweni and Zim Cyber City CEO, Tendayi Hlupo-Mamvura, among others.

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