This week, over 1,000 leaders from across Africa and the world will meet in Durban, South Africa, May 3-5. The aim? To generate new ideas and concrete action plans to make economic growth more inclusive.
It will also focus on how the Fourth Industrial Revolution, a wave of digital-era change that is changing the way we work and live, is playing out in Africa.
As Elsie Kanza, the Forum’s Head of Africa, explains:
“While the first revolution was dominated by land ownership and stretched over hundreds of years, the fourth revolution is primarily about knowledge ownership and is moving at the speed of light. This new challenge comes at a time when leaders are grappling with the reality of the failure of past growth to create jobs and reduce poverty and inequality.”
As well as heads of state and business leaders, participants include civil society stalwarts and young leaders who are actively changing the way things work in their societies. For example, Ola Orekunrin launched the Flying Doctors network of air ambulances in Nigeria, while ‘Gbenga Sesan runs a social enterprise to turn unemployed young people into app designers and entrepreneurs.
The meeting brings together all of the Forum communities that are active in the region during the year. These communities address issues in Africa that include food and water security, preventing the deforestation of tropical forests, securing investment to tackle Africa’s large infrastructure gap, bridging the digital divide, improving delivery of healthcare, helping Africans gain access to financial services, and facilitating better intra-regional trade.
Key participants from the region include South Africa’s President Jacob G. Zuma; Cyril M. Ramaphosa, Deputy President of South Africa; H.M. King Mswati III, King of Swaziland; Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, President of the Republic of Mauritius; Edgar Chagwa Lungu, President of Zambia; Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, President of Uganda; Filipe Jacinto Nyusi, President of Mozambique;Macky Sall, President of Senegal; Barnabas Sibusiso Dlamini, Prime Minister of Swaziland; Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila, Prime Minister of Namibia; and Mahamudu Bawumia, Vice-President of Ghana.
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Other key participants from Africa include: Malusi Gigaba, Minister of Finance of South Africa; Sam Kutesa, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Uganda; Joshua Setipa, Minister of Trade and Industry of Lesotho; Jean Philbert Nsengimana, Minister of Youth and Information and Communication Technology of Rwanda; Siyabonga Cwele, Minister of Telecommunications and Postal Services of South Africa; Tokozile Xasa, Minister of Tourism of South Africa; Rob Davies, Minister of Trade and Industry of South Africa; Claver Gatete, Minister of Finance and Economic Planning of Rwanda; Sidumo Dlamini, President, Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU); Edna Molewa, Minister of Environmental Affairs of South Africa; Aaron Motsoaledi, Minister of Health of South Africa; and Mmamoloko Nkhensani Kubayi, Minister of Energy of South Africa.
In addition, leaders from outside the region who will participate are: Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for Economic and Social Policies of Singapore; Wolfgang Schäuble, Federal Minister of Finance of Germany; and Brigitte Zypries, Federal Minister of Economic Affairs and Energy of Germany.
Representatives from international organizations are: Forest Whitaker, UNESCO Special Envoy for Peace; Social Activist, Whitaker Peace & Development Initiative; Mamadou Biteye, Managing Director, Africa Regional Office, Rockefeller Foundation; Gilbert Fossoun Houngbo, President, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD); Ellen Agler, Chief Executive Officer, The END Fund; and Mukhisa Kituyi, Secretary-General, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).
You can follow the meeting from anywhere in the world, watching sessions on livestream and joining the conversation on social media.