James Emejo in Abuja
Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo is expected to declare the 2019 African Economic Congress (AEC) open today in Abuja.
The event scheduled to begin November 4-6, would also have Minister of Finance, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele are among dignitaries in attendance.
The meeting, which is expected to host over 500 participants from Africa, will among other things, seek to highlight and proffer solutions to continental issues.
Also to speak at the congress are the Executive Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Mr. Tunde Fowler, Managing Director, Interswitch, Mr. Mitchell Alegbe, MD/Chief Executive, NIRSAL Plc, Mr. Aliyu Abdulhameed and MD, First Bank of Nigeria, Dr. Adesola Adeduntan among others.
Addressing journalists on expectations of the congress, Chief Executive, AEC, Mrs. Nancy Nnaji said the event themed: “Building the Africa we want: A Scheme into Africa’s Investment Process and Drive”, would convene key leaders from government, the private sector, academia and civil society to address strategic issues of regional significance under four thematic pillars including fostering agile industry leadership, geopolitical shifts and the complexity of our global system; achieving technology leadership – inequality, inclusive growth, health and nutrition; the new ecological system – environment, pollution and climate change as well as sustaining economic leadership – the fourth industrial revolution, science, innovation and entrepreneurship.
According to her, the three-day event would address industry-specific issues including bilateral relationship review between African countries and their Asian counterparts, with special focus on China
impact of data usage, data governance and cyber-security concerns on the future of the digital economy.
Other areas of focus are regional integration and the trepidations about Africa free trade zone agreement; Implications of volatile geopolitical environments on businesses and how they operate across borders and with other industries; transformation of talent and the impact on employment, skills, societal needs and political expectations on business leadership and influence of climate change and the Sustainable Development Goals on the future of investing, infrastructure, manufacturing and consumption.
Nnaji said: “African Economic Congress is a clarion call for African family meeting. A man who lives on the bank of a river does not use spittle to wash his hands.
“The challenges of corruption, bad governance, sit-tight syndrome of political office holders, youth unemployment, poverty, human rights abuse, terrorism etc, cannot undermine the great height Africa can reach.
“Even fingers of xenophobia and the prospect of African Continental Free Trade Agreement are two opposite sides of the future of African children.”
She added that the congress would focus on the strategic ramifications of the AfCTA and its future impact on Africa’s global cooperation and African Industrial Revolution.
She added that invitations had been extended to vice presidents of some African countries including Kenya, Zambia, Ghana, Burundi, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana and Liberia.