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Watch the videos below to see the highlights of WEF on Africa. Picture: 123RF/BYMANDESIGNS
Watch the videos below to see the highlights of WEF on Africa. Picture: 123RF/BYMANDESIGNS

The recent World Economic Forum on Africa (WEF Africa) held in Cape Town brought together business and political leaders from around the world to discuss and debate the most pressing economic issues of today.

You can now watch full-length multimedia reports of each WEF Africa session.

1. Africa: an economic update

A key component of WEF Africa was establishing where Africa’s macroeconomy is headed.  This topic was covered in a panel discussion exploring the comprehensive economic outlook for the continent. Panellists included Sola David-Borha, chief executive, Africa regions, at Standard Bank; Lesetja Kganyago, governor of the SA Reserve Bank; and Dr Albert G Zeufack, chief economist for Africa at the World Bank.

Watch the video:

In addition, Africa.com had an exclusive interview with David-Borha to explore how the Fourth Industrial Revolution is affecting economic growth on the continent.

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2. Eradicating violence against women

WEF Africa, which took place in Cape Town, was disrupted by major protests demanding that SA President Cyril Ramaphosa respond to the crisis of widespread violence against women in SA. In the week leading up to WEF Africa, a University of Cape Town student was raped and murdered violently by a post office worker while she was trying to collect a parcel. The rate of sexual violence in SA is among the highest in the world.

The WEF responded to the protests in real time by convening a special panel discussion on what can be done to address gender-based violence.

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3. Can Africa deliver on the promise of its megaprojects?

This interactive session explored a key driver of international investment in Africa’s huge infrastructure projects: can Africa implement and deliver on the promise of these megaprojects? Infrastructure megaprojects are crucial to the continent’s livelihood. The challenge is that these projects can go off the rails in terms of budget or time, or both, which can be devastating and risk non-delivery of the service promised by the project. 

Some of Africa’s infrastructure projects are among the largest in the world, and they require extraordinary management skills combined with close cooperation between the public and private sector.

The discussion featured, among others, Emmerson Mnangagwa, President of Zimbabwe.

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4. The African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA)

While the rest of the world is moving towards protectionist policies, 27 countries in Africa have ratified the agreement, giving the African Union the mandate to implement it. The AfCFTA will unlock the economic potential of Africa’s 1bn people and its $3.4-trillion economy in what will be one of the largest economic blocks in the world. 

The AfCFTA will deliver the free movement of business people, the elimination of tariffs on 90% of goods, and the creation of a customs union to streamline trade.

This panel explores the prospects for the AfCFTA as well as who will be the winners and the losers once it is implemented.

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5. Africa’s e-commerce: a retail revolution

Consumer demand for e-commerce in Africa is strong as the continent figures out how to tailor the Western model to address uniquely African challenges. E-commerce can lead to significant economic development, including one projection that over the next six years, it can create 3m new jobs in Africa. To achieve these goals, Africa must address core foundational challenges to e-commerce such as its physical infrastructure for the delivery of goods and recruiting trained workers with digital skills.

This panel discussion includes the founder of an SA e-commerce start-up, a manager from China’s highly successful global e-commerce player Alibaba, Sweden’s minister of trade, and a leader of a multinational corporation adapting to the e-commerce revolution.

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6. Delivering the promise of Africa’s youth

The statistics about Africa’s youth are well known. Depending on the source, the numbers indicate about 50% of the continent’s population is under the age of 30 and in need of education, employment and infrastructure, without which instability is sure to follow. In this discussion, the panellists aimed to move beyond the numbers and to identify solutions.  

Obiageli Ezekwesili, a Nigerian chartered accountant, delivered a passionate talk on what needs to be done now to address Africa’s youth.

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This article was paid for by Africa.com.