African thought leaders to discuss key challenges at APP meeting

Investment, tax, remittances, and aid will all be on the agenda when African thought leaders meet in Geneva to discuss how Africa can raise more and cheaper finance for inclusive and sustainable growth, the Executive Director of the Africa Progress Panel (APP) said on Tuesday.

Organised by the Africa Progress Panel, which is chaired by former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, the meeting will take place on Thursday November 28th, and will include former government leaders, economists, and experts on agriculture, fisheries, and infrastructure.

Among the participants are three former presidents, together with thought leaders from the IMF, United Nations, government, business, and media. The discussion will inform the 2014 Africa Progress Report, due for release in May.

“We’ve seen from the success of this year’s report how there’s a real thirst for honest and provocative analysis that will reset the agenda on Africa’s development issues,” Caroline Kende-Robb said.

“The great strength of the Africa Progress Report, and one reason why it has become so influential, is that the Panel’s combined experience and independence allows it to convene some of the best and brightest thought leaders and experts from all over the continent and indeed the world,” she said.

The 2014 Africa Progress Report will explore the ways in which Africa can raise finance and invest in its resource wealth – including agriculture and fisheries – to generate inclusive and sustainable growth.

Investments in infrastructure, skills, jobs, manufacturing, and other opportunities can also help Africa to unlock its potential for sustained and inclusive growth.

“Such growth would be transformational for Africa,” said Ms Kende-Robb.

Launched in Cape Town last May, the 2013 Africa Progress Report, Equity in Extractives, showed how Africa’s oil, gas, and mining sectors offer excellent opportunity to improve the lives of millions. But while the continent’s natural resource wealth has driven economic growth throughout the continent, it has not benefitted enough people.

“The Africa Progress Report is a game changer,” Donald Kaberuka, President of the African Development Bank, said after reading the 2013 report, which recommended policies and actions to inform not just the G8 Summit but also top-level audiences in the IMF, World Bank, UN Security Council, African Union, and even the Vatican.

“Once again, the Africa Progress Panel is saying what we all know but few want to admit,” Lanre Akinola, Editor of the Financial Times’ This is Africa, added.

“Participants on Thursday will have to work hard to earn their invitations, I’m looking forward to it,” Ms Kende-Robb said.

Photo credit: Eric Roset

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