Key economic issues to be addressed at WEF Africa in Cape Town. PHOTO: GCIS
Key economic issues to be addressed at WEF Africa in Cape Town. PHOTO: GCIS

WATCH: More than 50 head of states set to attend WEF in Cape Town

By Nneka Jonas and Mary Jane Mphahlele Time of article published Sep 3, 2019

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CAPE TOWN - South Africa will this week host more than 50 state leaders at the 28th World Economic Forum (WEF) to be held Cape Town from the 4th to the 6th of September 2019.

WEF is expected to address many challenges faced by these 50 nations such as elections taking place in more than 20 African countries, whether political and economic progress has been created, how to scale up the transformation of regional architecture related to smart institutions, investment, integration, industry and innovation. 

Under the theme, Shaping comprehensive Growth and Shared Futures within the Fourth historic period, the forum will address the African Union’s Agenda 2063 regional strategic priorities below four program tracks:

  • Innovation: Readiness for the Fourth technological revolution
  • Cooperation: Sustainable Development & Environmental place
  • Growth: digitalization & Competitive Industries
  • Stability: Leadership & Institutional Governance

WEF is a self-sufficient, international organization whose aim is to contribute to a number of positive outcomes within the world by focusing on business, political leaders, academia and alternative leaders of society.

The discussions will also focus on key industries and the launch of the first African Affiliate Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution in South Africa. 

One major risk of this year's event is the sharp drop-off in world trade growth, which fell from over 5 percent at the beginning of 2018 to just about zero at the end. 

With the anticipated increase in trade conflicts, a contraction in world trade might drag down on the world economy even more.

There are 54 heads of states across the globe are invited and 6 have already confirmed their attendance. A number of ministers (Foreign Affairs and Finance) from different countries are also expected to attend this event, however, the numbers are not yet confirmed.

Helping guide talks on Africa’s regional priorities are:

  • Sipho M Pityana, Chairman of AngloGold Ashanti in South Africa;
  • Arancha Gonzalez Laya, Executive Director of the International Trade Centre, Geneva; Jeremy Farrar, Director of the UK-based Wellcome Trust;
  • André Hoffmann, Vice-Chairman of Roche, Switzerland; Ellen Agler, CEO of The END Fund;
  • Jim Ovia, Chairman of Nigeria’s Zenith Bank; and
  • Alex Liu, Managing Partner and Chairman of AT Kearney.

In addition to these speakers, every year the organization seeks out young change-makers within the graft, that use their insights and the potential to improve the state of the world. 

Here are some of the 2019 Class of Young Global Leaders who will be expected to attend:

  • Umra Omar who founded the Safari Doctors to provide basic health and services in conflict-ridden Lamu County, Kenya, 
  • Victoria Alonsoperez, an engineer and Founder of Chipsafer, a platform that helps farmers track their livestock's behaviour to detect anomalies, and
  • David Moinina Sengeh, the first national Chief Innovation Officer of his country, Sierra Leone, and also the African continent.




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