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This is Africa’s Time ...Speakers Declare At Launch of Vodafone ABLF   
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Africa abounds in plentiful opportunities that need to be optimised through formation of the right partnerships guided by visionary and effective leaders, eminent speakers declared in Accra on Wednesday at the launch of the Vodafone African Business Leaders Forum (ABLF).

However they were quick to point out that there is a limited opportunity for Africa to get this right while developed countries deal with their slow growth rates and debt crisis.

If Africa delays too long, investors might withdraw their money and reinvest it in these markets when their economic fortunes stabilise. To ensure its success, Africa needs to offer investors a stable, predictable and integrated marketplace.

“Everywhere we look we see opportunity – to build infrastructure, boost trade and investment, improve governance, bolster education and human development, and strengthen regional partnerships,” affirmed Mrs. Edith Dankwa, Executive Director of the Business & Financial Times.

Kyle Whitehill, CEO of Vodafone Ghana, headline sponsor of the ABLF, said: “I have worked in three different countries on three different continents – first in Europe, India and now Africa. And I have the greatest conviction that Africa is a place of opportunity for business.”

Whitehill said he is excited about sharing his knowledge and experience with Africa at the much-anticipated forum in Accra. Jeanette T. Ndhlovu, South African High Commissioner to Ghana, officially launched the event, helped by senior officials of Ghana’s public and private sectors.

The launch was witnessed by a rich representation of business leaders, corporate executives and public officials, including speakers who will be expected to share their insights and knowledge with delegates at the November 10-12 event.

Dr. Kofi Amoah, CEO of Progeny Ventures Inc. and a patron of the Vodafone ABLF, said: “Africa has ideas, and we need to bring them out, share them and see the continent move forward.

Dr. Amoah, noted that Africa’s quest to develop should be driven by inter regional trade. “About 50% of global trade happens within regions. African countries need to trade more among themselves. Ghana and Nigeria for instance should increase the volume of trade between them.” “The continent’s resources are still intact; its population is about 950 million. What we need is leadership, the vision, courage, confidence and trust to develop these resources,” he said.

Dr. Amoah noted that recent global events should conspire to give Africa an advantage. “It is now up to the continent to create a balance in the economic system.” He lauded the institution of the African Business Leaders Forum (ABLF) as a platform for charting a new path of growth for the continent.

This year’s Vodafone African Business Leaders Forum is convened to create a platform for African business leaders within and outside the continent to brainstorm on the creation of opportunities out of the misfortunes that have been experienced by the continent over the several years. It will seek to advance the need for the pursuit of development and economic transformation for the continent.

It will engender strategic collaboration between African business leaders on the continent and their compatriots in the Diaspora to revolutionize Africa’s development agenda for a massive socio-economic turnaround. Economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa is set to maintain pace in 2012, supported by higher commodity prices and rising export demand, the IMF’s latest forecast for the region said.

In many of Africa’s low-income countries, growth is also being boosted by domestic demand and by adding value to exports. Regional economies on the continent are expected to post nearly 6 percent average economic growth in 2012, rising from just above 5 percent on average this year, the IMF said, pointing to a better outlook than in advanced economies, which are more likely to experience a sharp slowdown due to global volatility.

But the IMF’s Regional Economic Outlook for sub-Saharan Africa also cautioned that consumer price inflation is speeding up across the region, and that tighter monetary policy may be needed in some countries to head off inflation expectations.

Fiscal policy may need to support tighter monetary conditions by focusing more on the medium term, the report said.

Source: B&FT

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