Company Leaders Meeting

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Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of Africa’s largest companies are set to converge on Geneva, Switzerland, for the second CEO Forum on March 17th – 19th to brainstorm on corporate growth strategies for the continent’s businesses.

The forum is organised by the Groupe Jeune Afrique in conjunction with the African Development Bank, is expected to attract more than 400 CEOs from across the continent, including bankers, investors, financiers, as well as prominent African and international figures. In 2013, the forum pulled in 575 participants from 52 countries, including 330 from 33 African countries.

‘Specialists in banking, capital investment and financial markets and representatives of international financial institutions will be at the Africa CEO Forum 2014 to keep abreast of the trends and developments in the African business model,’’ a media report quoted the organisers as saying. Geneva’s international, multilingual and financial status explains its choice as host.

The report said the forum would feature an innovative programme of conferences and workshops in a privileged setting conducive to professional networking and meaningful discussion.

Policy Innovation Needed

Boosting industry and championing Africa’s companies will require policy innovation, political will and an information revolution, says Africa Report – there will have to be a corporate information revolution

Its survey of the continent’s Top 500 companies showed that Africa’s corporate giants – their combined turnovers have tripled to around $740bn over the past decade – are racing ahead. But it is equally important to look at the African continent’s gross domestic product – estimated to be about $1.8trn in 2013 – and ask why that is well over double the turnover of Africa’s top 500 companies.

Africa Report concludes that Africa’s companies are not present in the brightest spots on the economic horizon. Even Africa’s biggest companies are growing more slowly on average than its national economies and this is partly due to Africa’s biggest revenues, in oil and mineral exports mainly denominated in US dollars, accruing to multinational, not local companies. The performance of Africa’s processing and manufacturing companies, which will create the jobs of the future, is lagging behind, Africa Report points out. The average share of manufacturing in African economies remains at around 10%, where it has been for the past 40 years. See the full report here.

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