4 December 2013

Africa: Gabon - New York Forum Africa returns to Libreville

Libreville — Libreville, the capital of Gabon, will again host the New York Forum AFRICA (NYFA), this time from 23-25 May, 2014, official sources said on Tuesday. They said that the theme of the Forum - the third to be held in the country - will be the "Transformation of a Continent".

Again to be held under the High Patronage of the Gabonese President, Ali Bongo Ondimba, the 2014 Forum will focus on unlocking the competitiveness of the African economy through building value chains around the transformation of the continent's natural resources, including its human capital.

More than 1,500 business and political leaders and eight heads of state attended last year's NYFA, the world's leading pan-African business summit.

In previous years, it focused on recognizing the economic potential of the continent and the imperatives for growth.

Commenting on the gains of the Forum, President Bongo said: "In Gabon, we are moving away from the old economic model of a land rich in natural resources that made others wealthy, towards a diversified, competitive economy built on the principle that if we can create added value in Africa, we benefit our own people.

"By 2020, we must ban the exports of any products that have not undergone an initial transformation within our own country, so that we can diversify our economy and create higher revenues for our goods and services.

"It is imperative that we work together swiftly to build up competencies and competitiveness in these value-added industries to ensure we benefit long-term."

He said "In knowledge economies, such as those in the western world, education is the foundation of economic competitiveness and global prosperity - and is inseparable from the development of human capital.

"An assessment from the World Bank revealed that human capital contributes more than 60 per cent towards economic development, as compared to physical infrastructure (around 15 per cent) and natural resources (around 20 per cent)."

Richard Attias, co-founder of the NYFA, said: "We must ensure that training and capacity building match the real needs on the ground. With a solid education and good quality vocational training - tailored to the job market and to the local environment - we will ensure that African men and women can transform their lives, their environments and their countries. The blossoming of information and communication technologies further adds to the huge potential for the transformation of African economies."

Last year's NYFA focused on the six imperatives for African economies to grow -- independence, investment, incubation, innovation, infrastructure and inspiration.

The key themes for the NYFA 2014 include: Transforming the continent's human capital; Transforming natural resources and energy; Transforming the land for agriculture; Transforming investment into industry; Transforming connectivity and digital innovation into jobs; Transforming isolated marketing efforts into community and co-operative branding; and Transforming communities for new African citizenship.

And, in a major new development in 2014, the New York Forum AFRICA will play host to a Citizens' Summit where 50 Africans, under the age of 30, will take part in a series of round table discussions with ministers, corporations and heads of state to hear first-hand about their challenges, their hopes, and their experiences in the workforce.

Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa (CEMAC)

The findings will form a Citizens' Manifesto, to be delivered to the top 10 companies in each of the member states of the Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa (CEMAC) as well as to the heads of state and the top three educational institutions.

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