In 2015, the World Economic Forum on Africa will mark 25 years of change in Africa. Over the past decade and a half, Africa has demonstrated a remarkable economic turnaround, growing two to three percentage points faster than global GDP. Regional growth is projected to remain stable above 5% in 2015, buoyed by rising foreign direct investment flows, particularly into the natural resources sector; increased public investment in infrastructure; and higher agricultural production.
With the world’s largest youth demographic, Africa’s working-age population is expected to double to 1 billion in the next 25 years, surpassing both China and India. The year 2015 is also significant for Africa, as it marks the end of global, regional and local efforts to meet the Millennium Development Goals aimed at eradicating poverty.
Double-digit growth is now needed for sustainable development, and the onus is on leaders to address systemic structural changes that can boost investment, enhance competitiveness, strengthen risk resilience and harness opportunities arising from technology adoption in all sectors. This growth is also necessary to diminish vulnerability to commodity price fluctuations, capital market volatility, mounting public debt, climate change and persistent development challenges.
Under the theme, Then and Now: Reimagining Africa's Future, the 25th World Economic Forum on Africa will convene regional and global leaders from business, government and civil society to take stock of progress over the last 25 years, share insights on the present landscape and identify innovative approaches to accelerate inclusive growth while bringing about sustainable development in the future.