7th of October 2016
ALN conference praised by delegates as ‘best yet’
15 panel sessions enable hundreds of delegates to gain an in-depth look at key sectors for investment in Africa
Close to 400 business leaders and government representatives attended the two-day ALN Annual International Conference which concluded today in the Park Hyatt hotel, Dubai. Under the theme, “Africa: Bridging the Gulf”, international delegates from countries, including the UAE, Kenya, UK, Singapore and many more, listened to lively debate and gained insight in to the many investment opportunities available in Africa.
On day one, delegates listened to a presentation prepared by McKinsey & Co which unveiled findings from their latest report, titled ‘Lions on the move II’, which revealed an optimistic growth story in Africa - projecting the continent to be the world’s second fastest growing economy by 2020. The report also highlighted that spending by consumers and businesses today totals USD4 trillion annually, and is growing rapidly. Household consumption is expected to grow at 3.8 per cent a year to a total of USD 2.1 trillion by 2025.
Guest of Honour, His Excellency Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, delivering his welcome address, spoke about the historical ties between UAE and Africa, stating that, “Trade between the UAE and Africa requires a high level of transparency and hard work”. He continued to add, “ I am confident that this conference will inspire thoughtful debate and I look forward to discussions on how to obtain more integration between Africa and the Gulf”.
Renowned businessman and founder of the Mara Group Ashish J. Thakkar; Chairman of ALN and former Malian Prime Minister Dr. Cheick Modibo Diara; Former US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs and Managing Director AFEX Dr. Jendayi Frazer, were amongst some of the top speakers during the two-day conference.
With 15 interactive panel sessions during the two-day event, the spotlight was thrown on a number of sectors, including private equity, financial services, FMCG, retail and much more. World-renown panelists revealed the opportunities and challenges in the African market, and ways to overcome them.
In the highly engaging opening panel session, Dr. Cheick Modibo Diara, said, “Hosting this event provides a unique opportunity for everyone involved in bridging the gap between African and the Gulf region. We have had some exceptional speakers, as well as plenty of opportunities for networking and forming mutually beneficial partnerships for Africa”.
“Africa is a lion ready to come out of its den and when it does, the world will be a better place because of it. The continent is on a strong growth trajectory and presents the investment community a myriad of opportunities to tap into,” he added.
Commenting on the conference, Atiq S. Anjarwalla, Managing Partner, Anjarwalla Collins & Haidermota, said, “As we wrap up the third ALN Annual International Conference 2016, I’m extremely pleased with the consistent positive feedback from all who attended the event over the last two days”.
“This year the conversation about Africa is changing from ‘gaps’ to ‘opportunities’, ‘prospects’, and ‘ventures’. This is not news to anyone who attended the conference this year where the spotlight has been on the many opportunities available for potential investors to explore on the African continent.”
“It is imperative to acknowledge that while Africa can seem risky and complicated to potential investors, there are tremendous opportunities to tap into,” Anjarwalla continued.
The conference was held in Dubai, an ideal location widely acknowledged as the gateway to Africa for its global connectivity, concentration of corporate headquarters and geographical location at the heart of important trade corridors. The conference sponsors included International Enterprise Singapore; Centum; The Mauritius Commercial Bank (MCB); SBMI; Emirates NBD; Access Bank UK and Axis.