President Sahle-worq Zewdie, Ethiopia's first female President, arrived in Johannesburg today to attend the first investment forum for Africa that its organisers insist is more "transactional" than an event. It is her second foreign trip after her appointment in October as president and head of state. Sahle-worq's first visit was to South Sudan, just a few days after her assumption of office.
Upon her arrival to Johannesburg late yesterday, she was greeted by South Africa's President, Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa; and Dlamini Zuma (PhD), former head of the Africa Union (AU), who welcomed her with an emotional and overwhelming hug.
Sahle-worq and a number of other heads of state and prime ministers are attending the forum from across Africa, where six of the 10 fastest growing economies are located. The continent has an average of three percent GDP expansion which is not high enough to meet the its young demographic growth surges and lack of adequate infrastructure investments.
Africa needs an annual investment of about 170 billion dollars. The two-day forum that opens today is not "a talking shop", according to Akinwumi Adesina, president of the Africa Development Bank, the lead organizer of the event. If successful, he will see 61 deals made for an estimated investment of 40 billion dollars allocated for telecom, energy, manufacturing and agricultural industries.