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World, business leaders gather in Ethiopia for Economic Forum on Africa

World and business leaders are gathering in Addis Ababa for the World Economic Forum (WEF) on Africa, opening in the Ethiopian capital on Wednesday, PANA learnt here Tuesday.

With over 700 people from more than 70 countries expected to participate, it is the first time Ethiopia will host such a Forum.

Eight African heads of state, including the Ethiopian Prime Minister, Meles Zenawi, Djibouti’s Ismail Omar Guelleh, Gabon’s Ali Bongo Ondimba, Gambia’s Yahya Jammeh, Nigeria’s Goodluck Jonathan, Rwanda’s Paul Kagame and Tanzania’s Jakaya Kikwete are expected to attend.

Touted as one of world’s fastest-growing economies and home to major continental organizations, Ethiopia offers an exceptional opportunity to bring together pan-African and global leaders to discuss the future of the continent, according to organizers of the Forum.

Under the theme “Shaping Africa’s Transformation”, the discussion will integrate three main issues: Strengthening Africa’s Leadership; Accelerating Investment in Frontier Markets; and Scaling Innovation for Shared Opportunities, said the Geneva-based WEF in a statement.

“Africa is experiencing strong growth and despite the increasingly volatile global economy, African leaders are pursuing measures that will transform the region into the next global growth pole,” says Elsie S. Kanza, chief of WEF’s Africa wing. “In this context, the World Economic Forum on Africa will seek to leverage the positive political, economic and social progress of recent years…”

Along with former British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, and the unusual presence of Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Agriculture, Fahad Bin Abdulrahman Bin Sulaiman, the Forum will be attended by senior officials of the WTO, UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), the African Union, Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), USAID and the African Development Bank (AfDB).

Co-chaired by Kofi Annan, Chairman of Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa, and Gao Xiqing, President of China’s Investment Corporation, the 22nd WEF on Africa will run from 9 to 11 May.

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