Posts Tagged / Africa

Gabon Africa: CBS International Founder, Sophia Bekele Weighs in on Obama’s October US-Africa Leader Summit at the NYF Africa, 2014

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May
30

May 30, 2014 – CBS International delegates participated in the New York Forum AFRICA 2014 in Libreville, Gabon.

The forum focused on transformation: unlocking the competitiveness of the African economy through building value chains around the transformation of the continent’s natural resources, including its human capital. In knowledge economies, such as those in the western world, education is the foundation of economic competitiveness and global prosperity – and is inseparable from the development of human capital.

The forum the New York Forum AFRICA is organized under the high patronage of H.E. President Ali Bongo Ondimba in collaboration with the Government of Gabon and Richard Attias & Associates – part of WPP group.

While moderating a conversation on US-Africa relations with Washington’s high level panel, notably Mr. Robert Wolf CEO and Founder, 32 Advisors, former CEO of UBS Americas, and a three time economic advisor to President Obama and Mr. Dante Paradiso, Charge de Affair for US Embassy Gabon, Bekele raised key questions and challenges on the current initiatives of President Obama on Power Africa, Trade Africa, and asking if China’s USD 200B trading position with Africa has neutralized the US.

She advanced questions and comments on how Barrack Obama’s Young Leaders Program ought to mirror the past peace corp initiative, in that USA also needs to know more and be ‘hands on’ about Africa, and Paradiso discussed in detail on HOW AFRICA SEES THE UNITED STATES and vis a vis.

This important US-Africa Summit happens as the White House prepares to host the first U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington, DC on August 5 and 6, 2014. President Obama looks forward to welcoming leaders from across the African continent to the Nation’s Capital to further strengthen ties with one of the world’s most dynamic and fastest-growing regions.  The Summit will build on the progress made since the President’s trip to Africa last summer, advance the Administration’s focus on trade and investment in Africa, and highlight America’s commitment to Africa’s security, its democratic development, and its people.

Other World leaders who attended the forum included Rwandan President Paul Kagame, Central African Republic President Catherine Samba-Panza, former president of Peru Alejandro Toledo and former president of Bolivia Jorge Quiroga.  The conference brought together more than 3000 participants, including heads of state, politicians, business leaders, Musicians, Fashion Gurus from Africa, Europe, the United States, Latin America and China to discuss strategies for Africa’s economic growth, and our own leader Sophia Bekele, CEO of CBS International, Executive Director of DCA Trust and Founder of the highly acclaimed “yes2dotAfrica” campaign.

Sophia Bekele was among the delegates who spoke at the conference as an authority in  Innovation, Business and internet synergy, Governance and US-Africa relations. Speaking at the conference, as a panelist ON TRANSFORMING CONNECTIVITY INTO DIGITAL INNOVATION, Bekele pointed out that due the exponential growth of mobiles and lack of infrastructure in the rural areas, a rural development strategy using mobiles should be of national importance.  She also stressed “This national strategy should also include Mainstreaming Women in the ICT sector”.  Bekele noted that there will be a need to increase collaboration to reduce the cost of online access, and provide avenue for new markets in IT that will leverage on content creation, which goes into increasing the use of mobile phones, social media and apps. Bekele added that Africa’s Generation-Y is using ICT to create opportunities and build businesses but this needs to be marched with training on entrepreneurship, and an understanding on how to monetize the internet for income generation.

An assessment from the World Bank revealed that human capital contributes more than 60 per cent towards economic development, as compared to physical infrastructure (around 15 per cent) and natural resources (around 20 per cent).  African leaders face challenges from numerous fronts: how to harness economic growth, stimulate job creation, increase political stability, and handle the transition to democratic systems. How will they navigate change on the most rapidly-changing continent in the world ? In this discussion between heads of state and political and economic leaders, the panel put forward concrete recommendations for Africa’s future.

CBS International participates at the 5th EU-Africa Business Forum Brussels Belgium

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Apr
1

CBS International delegates attended the 5th EU-Africa Business summit convened from 31 March – 1 April, 2014.

Apr. 1, 2014Brussels, Belgium: CBS International delegates attended the 5th EU-Africa Business Summit   convened from 31 March – 1 April, 2014 at a crucial time in the relations between Europe and Africa.

Africa’s growth is attracting global interest, notably from an industrialization and ICT perspective. Europe and Africa have genuine interest in increasing bilateral trade, investment and market integration in mutually beneficial relations, to boost strong sustainable growth and create jobs. However, a common challenge for both Africa and Europe remains the consolidation of sustainable economic growth, in particular to ensure that this growth is inclusive in creating jobs, improving public-private partnership and business climate, and enhancing the development of SMEs.

The forum thus provided a unique opportunity for African and European companies to network and exchange views on EU-Africa business and investment relations.  The landmark forum was by the EU Commission Vice-President, Antonio Tajani, together with Commissioner Andris Piebalgs and Commissioner Karel de Gucht.  Other high profile leaders included AUC Chair, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, José Manuel Barroso, President of European Commission, who  inaugurated  the forus with Key note speeches.

The Forum offered a high level platform for the private sector to meet political leaders from Europe and Africa. Private sector is taken as the driver of most of the high level investments in Africa especially in telecommunications and ICT, manufacturing and agriculture.

Sophia Bekele the President and Founder of CBS International commented that entrepreneurs are the future of Africa and should be empowered to work on innovation in the ICT sector for agriculture and in order to minimize government interference which entrepreneurs do not get motivated by, we need to work with Banks by educating and building capacity for the banks to provide loans for farmers and support financing for the innovation.   She added, “we need to make agriculture a very cool thing for young people to embrace”.

Delivering his opening speech, José Manuel Durão Barroso the President of the European Commission said that “I believe this is increasingly true all across Africa: a serious focus on stability and good governance – even in a sometimes difficult context – leading to a renewed and realistic optimism among investors, large and small……The private sector has indeed a large role to play and that is what binds this Business Forum with the European Union – Africa Summit later this week.”