Egypt Emphasizes its African Role by Hosting “Africa 2017” Forum, Dr. Nasr

On 12 September 2017, the Minister of Investment and International Cooperation Dr. Sahar Nasr and Director of the COMESA Regional Investment Agency (RIA) Ms. Heba Salama inaugurated a working breakfast to publicize the “Investment for Sustainable Development: Africa 2017” Forum to be held under the patronage of President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi during the period from 7 to 9 December 2017 and to be organized by MIIC and RIA in Sharm El-Sheikh.
The breakfast was attended by several African, European and Asian ambassadors to Cairo and representatives from Egypt’s development partners. 
The Minister asserted that the Egyptian political leadership was keen on achieving effective cooperation between African countries and on achieving sustainable development, which would positively affect the African people’s lives through cooperation in attracting investments. She pointed out that the forum came in completion of the great success achieved by Africa 2016 Forum held last year under the auspices of President El-Sisi in Sharm El-Sheikh, where 1400 individuals and 6 presidents participated and 300 meetings between the public and private sectors were held.
The forum would be an opportunity for gathering policy-makers, financial institutions and investors from Africa and worldwide to promote investment in strategic sectors, given that Egypt served as an investment gate for Africa, clarified Dr. Nasr. She added that the forum would contribute to supporting and promoting investment between the world and Africa through Egypt.
The minister said that Egypt emphasized its African role by hosting the "Africa 2017" Forum, which is considered the largest investment gathering in the continent to present the available investment opportunities, which would contribute to achieving sustainable and inclusive growth, thereby providing African people with millions of job opportunities by making use of their natural resources and implementing major projects based on such resources. This, according to the Minister, would raise their standard of living and improve their incomes, besides eliminating the problems of poverty and migration in search of job opportunities.
Moreover, Dr. Nasr noted that the Forum would include holding sessions for national projects and available investment opportunities in Egypt, besides organizing a form for entrepreneurs and rapid-growth companies as well as hearing sessions for entrepreneurs.  The sessions also aim to discuss common challenges faced by startups, including funding, opening new markets, leadership skills, and providing investors with ideas. The forum would also provide the opportunity to establish partnerships between entrepreneurs, companies and participating financial institutions. 
As mentioned by the Minister, the Forum would include several open sessions for discussing various vital issues, including private economic zones, cities, and urban development; new energy and the future of energy generation and distribution; long-term investment; reforms of the business environment; trade and cross-border investment, especially among African countries; available investment opportunities in the Continent; and success stories of African businesswomen in the field of business and investment. Several sectors of strategic importance and comprehensive topics, including agriculture, infrastructure, and energy, would also be covered. 
The Minister clarified that sustainable development would not be attainable without the private sector, emphasizing the importance of supporting entrepreneurs and youth projects.
“The Africa 2017 Forum aims to discuss the significance of investment and the achievement of sustainable development in Egypt and the African Continent. It is considered the 7th forum to be held for the African Continent and its partners and the 4th to be held in Egypt,” Ms. Salama stated. She added that FDI in Africa increased to reach 21% in the industry sector and 75% in the service sector.
Ms. Salama mentioned that 120 speakers from ministers, major companies and entrepreneurs in all fields worldwide were invited to participate at the Forum, noting that they targeted 20 million job opportunities till 2035. She further explained that several workshops would be held on the sidelines of the forum and an event would be held for entrepreneurs, given that the Forum would gather decision-makers. 
She also pointed out that a press conference would be held during the upcoming period to announce the details of the Forum, while inviting African Ambassadors to attend and participate at the forum and encourage investments in Africa. She emphasized that COMESA worked closely with the private sector to achieve sustainable development.