The event saw the participation of mainly three groups of people. Italian companies that are already established in Africa or have dealings in Africa,
African countries wanting to attract foreign investors and the last group is potential investors and entrepreneurs.
The Deputy Minister of Foreign Affaires and International Cooperation in her opening speech acknowledged the immense contribution of Africans to the growth of Italy’s economy. Many other speakers that came after her also agreed to that fact. The representatives of the companies already having dealings with Africa testified about the peaceful nature in doing business in Africa. Many have described Africa as the continent of the “Now” and no more the continent of the future. This because according to them is the time to invest there. This is also due to the great availability of natural resources, as well as human resources. Africa for long has been wrongly described by some international media. The IABW was in a way to tell the African reality the way it should be.
According to the Deputy Director General of Jeune Afrique (a weekly Journal) also present at the event said during his presentation that the paramount obstacle to development in Africa is information. The Africa that is always presented to the rest of the world is an Africa in war, hunger and an Africa where people are always on the run and end in sinking ships in the mediterranean sea. It is true that those are some realities but beyond these is a young Africa, full of vibrant men and women. An Africa which is an incubator for many new businesses to come. He also said that they have taken it upon themselves to report Africa in a way to attract more businesses. This has been one of the speeches many have loved to hear.
In return, the Countries wanting to attract foreign investment also took their time to describe their countries and the potentials that exist in doing business with them. They spoke about the political climate and other factors. Many of them like Benin which was represented by its President of the Economic and Social Council took his time to take the audience through the opportunities in agribusiness, tourism, the Renewable Energy sector, Information Technology, Mines, fishery and animal husbandry and many others.
It is also to be noted that there were few international institutions that were present and were eager to sponsor emerging agribusinesses in Africa. Some of these sponsorships range from public ventures to private and individual ventures. The International Fund for Agricultural Development which was represented by its Director of Sustainable Production, Markets and Institutions Division is one of those. More details on how to access the funds and others can be obtained on www.ifad.org. Her personal contact was obtained and would be added to this report.
STUDIO C.O.M ITALIA which offers financial support in accessing loans was also present. When an institution has a project or business in Africa but lacks the financial muscles to carry it out STUDIO COM ITALIA comes in and support up to 80% of the total cost refundable over 10 installments within 5 years. More details can be obtained on www.studiocomitalia.com. The representative’s personal contact was obtained and would be added to this report.
The Association of African Engineers (AIA) was introduced to the Project and Sales Manager of ALA, a company noted for Renewable Energy and Smart City. He showed interest in the Association and a suggestion was made to him to consider using the workforce of AIA should they get any contract in Africa. The representative’s contact was obtained and would be added to this report.
Think Global, an Italian private company but with African indigenous farmers at heart has supports farmers or group of farmers in designing and developing their startups by providing them with the right technical supports. It was represented by its Chief Executive Officer. His personal contact was obtained and would be added to this report.
The event was scheduled to close at 18:30 closed at about to 19:30 on the first day. On the second day due to the extensive rain fall, the program could not start at 9:00 but far after 10 am. The delay led to clashing and distortion in the initial schedules. The presentations took place in 3 halls simultaneously. Based on these, one could not attend some of the presentations that could be of interest. In all it was a great success and worth participating.
Conference attended and reported by Dogbey Elolo. K. Mensah. 26-27th November 2019.