Malawi has been invited to participate at the 2021 Africa Industries CEO summit which is slated for August in Ethiopia and has been organized by the Africa Industrialisation Group Inc. (AI-Group Inc).
The Summit will be held from 26 to 29 August at the Ethiopian Skylight Hotel, Addis Ababa.
Writing The Nation from his base in Nigeria, AI-Group Inc. chief executive officer Carl Oshodi described the meeting as a viable, and sustainable space where emerging business and infrastructure champions from Malawi and from other parts of the country will collaborate on sector partnership, seal real deals, meet with investors in and outside of Africa.
He said the summit, which has been titled “Africa Industries CEO and Rainmaker Industry Star Award in Africa (RISA-Africa),” will be held under the theme: “Optimizing Private Sector Partnership to Support Industrial and Socioeconomic Transformation: Africa, Investment and Infrastructure”
Oshodi, who boasts of decades of industry sector management himself, said the summit is set up to mobilize Africa’s elite stakeholders from the 55 African Union member countries including Malawi, committed to improving businesses on the continent.
Malawi is among several other developing countries across the globe that are grappling with high cost of doing business, and whose investment flows as measured by Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) remains low due to a myriad of factors including lack of sustainable energy supply as manifested by incessant power outages.
Malawi also ranks one of the poorest countries in the world with a percapita income of about $600 per person per year and with a nominal gross domestic product (GDP) of $10.9 billion (about K8 trillion).
Such a size of the Malawi economy is half the size of neighbouring Zambia with a nominal GDP of $20 billion as of the year 2020.Another neighbouring country to Malawi, Tanzania boasts of a nominal GDP of worth $62 billion, six times the size of Malawi wealth.
Oshodi added: “The Summit will welcome sector leaders from sector and non-sector institutions including facility managers, investors, infrastructure developers, renewable energy practitioners, trade facilitators, professional miners and financial institutions from the continent willing to learn, work and play through paper presentations, panel sessions and network on industry clustering and many other investment opportunities spanning from pan-African to global network in sector partnership and community.”
Oshodi explained that the platform is targeting participants and network from industries such as business leaders’ platform, professionals/academicians, national chambers of commerce and industry, industrialists, educators, investors, financial Institutions, infrastructure/project developers, high level government functionaries, technology providers, law firms, logistics and service providers.
As part of the summit’s deliverables, Oshodi stated that it will seek to stimulate a culture of elite partnership, cooperation and opportunity to industrialize Africa, amplify critical industry sector investments in ‘Made in Africa’ brands, advocate for inclusive infrastructure policy dialogue on standard and intellectual property among Industry sector CEOs in Africa, promote technology sharing among captains of Industries. share market intelligence, fast-track exports of goods and services, made and designed by Africans within Africa, as well as facilitating trade support while accelerating Africa’s GDP.
During the summit, six high-level panel discussions have been organized and are expected to feature sandwiched topics covering issues such as technology sector, trade governance and policies reforms, energy sector, finance and insurance, retail, and quality assurance.
Other generic topical issues at the summit, Oshodi said, include trade governance, trade agreements, intra-Africa trade, industrialisation, SMEs and commodity exchange strategy, regional value chain management, trademark, finance, and insurance, capital markets, banking, mortgage, and also the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
Malawi has this year ratified the AfCFTA which basically provides the opportunity for Africa to create the world’s largest free trade area as it has a potential to converge 1.3 billion people, within an estimated $2.5 trillion economic bloc.
Minister of Trade Sosten Gwengwe has repeatedly argued that Malawi has quality agriculture based products that can favourably compete at the regional and global markets but expressed worry that the private sector looks down on itself by feeling comfortable with the domestic market.
According to Gwengwe, such a continental market is expected to enhance
competitiveness at the industry and enterprise level through opportunities for scale production, continental market access and better reallocation of resources.