The Third Investing in Africa Forum (IAF), wrapped up in Dakar, capital of Senegal, on September 25, 2017. The event saw the launch of a thought-provoking report on propelling the continent's economy further; Leapfrogging through Innovation, jointly released by the World Bank and China Development Bank. The report outlines opportunities to scale up innovation in various economic sectors in Africa.
Macky Sall, President of Senegal believes innovation is the most appropriate topic for this forum as Africa is preparing for further industrialization. "On the path to emergence, we must give ourselves the means to positively and sustainably transform our production system. This will inevitably require innovation, and a new mindset that translates into a real willingness to break with established ideas, practices and habits," said the president.
The IAF is an annual platform aimed at increasing China's investments in Africa, and other multilateral cooperation. This year, the forum was hosted by the Government of Senegal, the Chinese Ministry of Finance, China Development Bank, and the World Bank Group.
The IAF focused on a new generation of investment opportunities driven by innovation and the adoption of technologies critical for unlocking Africa's potential for accelerated, inclusive economic growth.
"IAF is an important multilateral platform to strengthen cooperation and spark innovation across the African continent," said Yang Shaolin, Managing Director and Chief Administrative Officer of the World Bank Group.
"African leaders recognize the power of embracing new and disruptive technologies. We look forward to working on ways that move words to action by further leveraging finance, global knowledge, and partnerships through supporting dialogues among governments, investors, and civil society. Through the Forum we are igniting change for long-term sustainable impact across the developing world."
Several Memorandums of Understanding were signed at the Forum, covering initiatives in energy, agriculture, and education.
"We have committed to mutually beneficial, win-win cooperation to promote the sharing of development experience, investments and trade," said Shi Yaobin, Vice Minister of Finance of the People's Republic of China. "I hope that, through this Forum, China and African countries will coordinate development strategies and find new opportunities for cooperation. We must learn from each other, explore new development paths, integrate our competitive advantages and resources, and develop new financing models to help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030."
The Forum also saw the debut of the Investing in Africa Think Tank Alliance, a global platform for knowledge sharing and partnerships in Africa, China, and elsewhere.
More than 400 participants attended the Forum, which was also well-attended by Chinese and African companies seeking to expand partnerships for new investments.
Established in 2015 through a China Development Bank initiative, the first two forums were held in Addis Ababa, capital of Ethiopia, and in Guangzhou, capital of China's Guangdong Province. During these forums, participants advocated stronger partnerships to address the acceleration of manufacturing and industrialization, expanding agriculture and agribusiness, and improving infrastructure, regional connectivity and logistics for trade.
The next Investing in Africa Forum (IAF 2018) will be held in Hunan Province of China.