LIBREVILLE, Gabon, June 11, 2012 — The second day of the first New York Forum AFRICA which is being held in Libreville, capital the Gabonese capital, was the opportunity for the issues of economic investment and development opportunities to be tackled by the entire continent.
At the initiative of Richard Attias & Associates, under the aegis of President Ali Bongo Ondimba, and in partnership with the government of Gabon, more than 600 international opinion leaders from business, economics, and politics have been meeting since Friday 8 June to attend the first New York Forum AFRICA which ends this evening.
The innovative idea that underpins New York Forum AFRICA is to bring together international investors and business leaders on the continent, some for the very first time, in order to foster crucial connections for potential partnerships, with very concrete applications.
"Is there such a thing as an African economic model?"
This second day opened with a fundamental question: is there such a thing as an African economic model? "Everyone seeks to construct a model. We'd like green growth and we'd like inclusive growth. That means growth that protects our environment and that similarly affects all layers of society", declared Gabon's Minister of the Economy, Luc Oyoubi, during the discussions.
Africa, continent of the future: "In 20 years' time, Africa will be where Asia is today".
Lord Mandelson, former cabinet minister and European commissioner thus set out his vision of Africa in 2030 in a special address:
"In 20 to 30 years' time, I can see Africa being a direct competitor to China, and Africa becoming the equivalent of where Asia stands today in the new world order. The advent of this continent could be one of the great historical events of the 21st century. With production costs lower than those of China or other Asian countries, Africa should become the new international workshop."
The invited guests from more than 50 countries have shared their ideas and suggestions during themed workshops focusing on the key areas of Africa's economic development.
The Debates and Taskforces covered regional integration, natural resources, finance (and access to funding for the private sector), tourism, leadership (how to foster the return of African elites), technology, and relations between the United States and Africa.
The American actor Robert de Niro, on his first visit to Gabon, also conveyed a real message of hope for the continent to the delegates of New York Forum AFRICA. Mentioning the film industry within the African continent and its future investment, the American actor called for a more stable business climate.
First partnership announcements
"The New York Forum AFRICA is a unique opportunity for negotiating partnerships and agreements in some unexpected areas: social housing, water, or even the media. If all of these projects are conducted, they will and should create jobs", noted Richard Attias, the event's founding chairman.
Gabon's Energy Minister, Régis Immongault, notably set out the development project of Gabonese mining potential before an audience of some 50 investors. "We've already begun developing the mining sector, in particular with our long-standing partner, Comilog, a subsidiary of the French group Eramet, on the construction of the Metallurgical Complex in Moanda with an investment of 270 million USD", he observed. "We have the potential, with 900 mineral showings carried out, and we need your assistance to maximise this potential", addressing the business leaders who were in attendance.
With the participation of Lee White, Executive Secretary of the National Agency for National Parks (ANPN), a round table also brought together leaders from the tourism sector. "Gabon has an opportunity to become a world leader in the tourism sector", remarked Jerry Inzerillo, chief executive officer of IMG Artist and former boss of Kezner Entertainment, one of the world leaders in seaside resorts.