Published October 8, 2017
The 4th ALN Annual International Conference was held at Park Hyatt Hotel in Dubai on the 4 and 5 of October and was attended by over 400 high-level business leaders, investors and government representatives in the course of the two days.
We are extremely pleased with the consistent positive feedback from all who participated.
The conversation on day one focused on the promise of Africa’s future and the untapped economic and investment opportunities the continent offers. We were reminded that unlocking Africa’s potential will only be possible if we harness the power of its people.
Former President of the Republic of Nigeria, H.E. Olusegun Obasanjo, led the discussion by urging delegates not to focus on the past, but rather look to the future and remain optimistic about Africa’s prosperity. He highlighted Africa’s boundless possibilities and noted that there is “no magic” to leading a successful nation. With the right leadership, Africa can overcome its demographic challenges if we make sound investments in infrastructure and focus on good governance.
We were honoured to also be joined by His Excellency Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister for Culture, Youth and Social Development for the UAE. His Highness wisely reminded the audience that human capital is infinitely more valuable than financial capital. With Africa’s population expected to double by 2050, there are tremendous opportunities for investors to tap into.
We witnessed the signing of a cooperation agreement covering contract enforcement between the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) Courts and the High Court of Zambia. This agreement not only strengthens the bond between the Gulf and the African continent, but also brings additional certainty to UAE companies operating in southern Africa.
A growing middle class, fast-paced urbanization and technological innovation are shaping what the future of Africa could look like. Today, African countries present opportunities for investment in industry verticals including retail, commercial, property, logistics, hospitality and technology. We see robust growth and opportunities across the length and breadth of Africa, including Morocco to the north, Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania to the east, Ivory Coast to the west and Zambia in the south.
In the words of Karim Anjarwalla, Managing Partner at Anjarwalla&Khanna (Kenya): "It is imperative to acknowledge that Africa is not a monolith, African countries are not homogeneous, and focusing on Africa as a unit is not meaningful. This is a key reason our conference delves into various geographies and sectors and provides a holistic view of real opportunities and challenges that exist within these markets. Our conference is constantly evolving with invaluable feedback from delegates and attendees to provide a deeper-dive into specific opportunities and challenges unique to individual markets".
The closing session ended with lively debate. Led by Mishaal Al Gergawi, the ‘Hard Talk’ session featured a line-up of eminent speakers and industry experts who debated the role that Africa should play in its own development and how it relates to the rest of the world.
We would like to sincerely thank everyone who attended our event this year and to those who worked tirelessly to make it a success. With such positive feedback on ALN 2017, we have no choice but to come back again next year with another engaging, powerful and invaluable event.
To find out more about all the previous editions of the ALN Annual International Conference, visit our website.