Print Download PDF Embed

News Release

Over 700 Leaders from 70 Countries Will Convene This Week in Ethiopia

Fon Mathuros, Director, Media, Communications Dept., Tel.: +25-1 (0)930 098 939; E-mail: fma@weforum.org

  • Over 700 from more than 70 countries to participate at the World Economic Forum on Africa this week
  • The meeting will take place in Addis Ababa in Ethiopia for the first time, from  9-11 May
  • Eight African heads of state or government among 90 public figures taking part
  • For more information about the meeting see http://wef.ch/africa2012 and meeting Fact Sheet

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 7 May 2012 – More than 700 leaders from business, government, civil society, academia, media and the arts from over 70 countries will meet at the 22nd World Economic Forum on Africa in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from 9 to 11 May. The meeting is being hosted for the first time in Addis Ababa with the support of the Government of Ethiopia.

Ethiopia, which is one of the world’s fastest growing economies, is home to the African Union and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa. Thus Addis Ababa offers an exceptional opportunity to bring together pan-African and global leaders to discuss the future of the region. Under the theme Shaping Africa’s Transformation, the meeting’s agenda will integrate three pillars: Strengthening Africa’s Leadership; Accelerating Investment in Frontier Markets; and Scaling Innovation for Shared Opportunities.

“Africa is experiencing strong growth and despite the increasingly volatile global economy, African leaders are pursuing measures that will transform the region into the next global growth pole. In this context, the World Economic Forum on Africa will seek to leverage the positive political, economic and social progress of recent years by providing a true multistakeholder platform to develop new ideas and actions to achieve further sustainable, inclusive growth,” says Elsie S. Kanza, Director, Head of Africa, World Economic Forum.

Led by Prime Minister Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia and representatives from his government, other African leaders who have confirmed their participation at the meeting are: Djibouti, President Ismail Omar Guelleh; Gabon, President Ali Bongo Ondimba; Gambia, President Yahya Jammeh; Mauritius, Vice-Prime Minister and Minister of Finance and Economic Development Charles Gaëtan Xavier-Luc Duval; Namibia, Prime Minister Nahas Gideon Angula; Nigeria, President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan; Rwanda, President Paul Kagame; Tanzania, President Jakaya M. Kikwete; and Zimbabwe, Deputy Prime Minister, Arthur G. Mutambara.

In addition, leading international personalities who will be present include: Pascal Lamy, Director-General, World Trade Organization (WTO); Abdoulie Janneh, Executive Secretary, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA); Jean Ping, Chairperson of the Commission, African Union; Gordon Brown, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (2007-2010); Fahad Bin Abdulrahman Bin Sulaiman, Minister of Agriculture of Saudi Arabia; Beverley Oda, Minister of International Cooperation of Canada, Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA); and Rajiv J. Shah, Administrator, US Agency for International Development (USAID).

Co-chairs of the meeting are: Kofi Annan, Chairman, Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) and the Africa Progress Panel (APP), Switzerland; Gao Xiqing, President and Vice-Chairman, China Investment Corporation (CIC), People’s Republic of China; Bekele Geleta, Secretary-General, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), Geneva; Monhla Hlahla, Chairperson, Industrial Development Corporation of South Africa (IDC), South Africa; Donald Kaberuka, President, African Development Bank (AfDB), Tunisia; Doug McMillon, President and Chief Executive Officer, Wal-Mart International, Wal-Mart Stores, USA; and Tidjane Thiam, Group Chief Executive, Prudential, United Kingdom.

Notes to Editors:

Follow this year’s meeting online at http://wef.ch/africa2012
View photos from the 2012 World Economic Forum on Africa at http://wef.ch/africapics2011
Watch live webcasts of the sessions on Livestream at http://wef.ch/live
Watch the sessions on YouTube at http://wef.ch/youtube
Become a fan of the Forum on Facebook at http://wef.ch/facebook
Follow the Forum on Twitter at http://wef.ch/twitter and http://wef.ch/livetweet
Listen to the Forum Podcast at http://wef.ch/podcast
Read the Forum Blog at http://wef.ch/blog
Read Forum reports on Scribd at http://wef.ch/scribd
Follow the meeting on the iPhone at http://wef.ch/app
Subscribe to Forum News Releases at http://wef.ch/news


The World Economic Forum is an international institution committed to improving the state of the world through public-private cooperation in the spirit of global citizenship. It engages with business, political, academic and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas.

Incorporated as a not-for-profit foundation in 1971 and headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, the Forum is independent, impartial and not tied to any interests. It cooperates closely with all leading international organizations (www.weforum.org).