Africa CEO Forum: Which Public Policies to Develop Africa’s Private Sector?

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The African Business Takes Center-Stage

The CEO Africa Forum is the first high-level international meeting of business leaders in Africa. On November 21 and 22, CEO’s, investors, financial decision-makers and policy-makers have come together to promote the achievements of the African private sector, provide a platform for high-level dialogue and provide strategic solutions to support the development of African businesses.

African companies have center stage at the CEO FORUM AFRICA, which offers CEO’s and policy makers from across the continent an opportunity to reflect together on development priorities that are needed to build the continent’s economic future.

What Public Policies for the Development of Africa’s Economic Sector ?

During the second plenary session of the Africa CEO Forum, devoted to public policies, several key points were highlighted: giving a voice to the private sector and trade unions, trade facilitation, adopting balanced policies between growth and job creation and developing state capitalism.

"We demand the democratization of the definition of public policy," said Albert Yuma, the Chairman of the Board of Gécamines, known as the “boss of bosses” in DR Congo. Yuma summed up in one sentence the will of the African private sector to be at the center of the discussion on public policy in Africa.

"We need to ensure that any public policy garners national consensus, with the private sector, civil society and social partners aligned. All this must be based on trust, especially when it comes to the private sector,” underlined Mohamed El Kettani, the CEO of Attijariwafa Bank.

Also associated with the second plenary session of the Africa CEO Forum entitled “Public policies for the development of African business,” Côte d'Ivoire’s Finance minister, Koffi Charles Diby, stressed the importance for governments to establish a platform for discussion and not take unilateral decisions.

Amine Tazi-Riffi (McKinsey) called for a public policy combining sector strategy and decision-making processes to facilitate overall activities. "The choice of priority sectors must be balanced between GDP growth, exports and that of employment," said the consultant, citing retail, agriculture and social services as the largest job-creation sectors in Africa to come.

What Priorities for the African Private Sector ?

The need for a real rise of state capitalism in Africa in order to better manage the imperatives of governance, and the deployment of a national economic strategy were two key elements also underlined. "Too often we overlook the importance of this type of capitalism in emerging markets," said Amine Tazi-Riffi. Albert Yuma meanwhile spoke of shared national interests between the private sector and governments. "Chinese or Singaporean states help their companies, especially abroad", said Hicham El-Agamy, Executive Director of IMD Lausanne.

The importance of facilitating company start-ups, having access to electricity and funding and protecting investors were also highlighted.

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