Chancellor Olaf Scholz and President Macky Sall of Senegal in Dakar, May 2022. The German leader promised to collaborate with the country to exploit the massive gas deposit off its coast during its visit to Senegal. Europe’s increased interest in Africa could herald a new opportunities for the continent, many experts say/Photo: Président de la République du Sénégal/Twitter

GPAD: Conference on Africa to hold in Berlin

The COVID-19 pandemic had already dampened the steady economic upswing in Africa. Then came the war in Ukraine, which has led to sharp increases in food and energy prices, imposing severe challenges on African countries as the living conditions of the people worsen across the continent.

At the same time, EU’s efforts to partner with African countries have increased significantly since the start of the Ukraine war, in particular in the energy and raw materials sectors. This increased interest follows a long series of investment initiatives and trade agreements between the EU and its member states and African countries, such as the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) and the Compact with Africa (CwA).

While Europe’s renewed interest in Africa has been hailed by many analysts as heralding new opportunities for economic growth and development in the continent, critical voices are warning that the Europeans are primarily concerned with securing their own interests.

The 2022 Global Partnership for Africa’s Development (GPAD) Forum, holding on 22-23 November virtually and live in Berlin, will focus on how African countries should address the challenges and engage the opportunities being created by ongoing global events.

Organised by Lead Africa International e.V., a Germany-based non-governmental organization dealing with development issues, the GPAD Forum is a platform where civil society actors and experts come together to address development issues, network and work together to strengthen cooperation between Baden-Württemberg, one Germany’s 16 federal states, and African countries.

The hybrid event will feature keynote speeches, plenary sessions, debates, case studies’ presentations, among others.

“For instance, China is in the process of surpassing the US economically and thereby define the future of business. By 2050, projections are that the top five largest global economies are mostly likely to be China, India, Brazil and Africa. This shows a sign of what the new economic giants will be,” Lead Africa International said. “The world order today is perceived to be at risk; and Africa needs to make a time-sensitive decision to assess and implement effective strategies to better position itself as a force to reckon with in this new world order.”

Speakers, including HE Igor Cesar, Rwanda’s ambassador to Germany; Rudi Hoogvliet, State Secretary for Media Policy and Representative of the State of Baden-Württemberg to the Federal Government in Berlin; Phillipp Keil, Executive Director, Baden-Württenburg Development Cooperation SEZ; and Khalid Sherif, Chief Economist at the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development, will deliberate on strategies for Africa’s engagement of the new realities being created by the ongoing war in Ukraine and the shifts caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Other speakers billed to speak at the 2-day event are Frank Andreas Schittenhelm, Professor of Financial Management at the NĂĽrtingen-Geislingen University and lecturer at the German Actuarial Academy; Ruth Negash, CEO of the COMESA Federation of National Association of Women in Business; and Joy Zenz, Director of African Women in Europe.

The welcome address at the GPAD Forum 2022 will be delivered by Timi Olanrewaju, Executive Director of Lead Africa International.

The experts are expected to put forward their ideas on how best African economies can identify new opportunities, reposition themselves and strengthen their competitiveness in the midst of these tumultuous changes in the global marketplace.

The GPAD Forum, which took place for the first time in 2019 in the city of Tübingen, promotes “knowledge that facilitates partnership on trade and investment, sustainable development, and cultural cooperation between African civil society and private sector leaders and their counterparts from the West and other regions of the world”.

The conference will be attended by participants from across Europe and Africa.

Participation is free but registration is required.

Femi Awoniyi

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GPAD Forum 2022
Date: 22-23 November 2022
(Tuesday & Wednesday)
Venue: Baden-WĂĽrttemberg Haus, TiergartenstraĂźe 15, 10785 Berlin, Germany

Registration: https://myleadafrica.org/GPAD2022/

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