The 2009 Edition of Africa Finance and Investment Forum (AFIF) Kicks Off.
This year’s edition of the Africa Finance and Investment Forum (AFIF), organised by the Brussels-based EMRC, in cooperation with the Netherlands Development Finance Company FMO was opened on Tuesday 14th December at the ABN AMRO conference centre in Amsterdam, Netherlands.
The proceedings of the conference which has drawn participation from 43 countries in Africa, Europe, Asia and the Americas started with a pre-conference interactive workshop on business plans for potential investors. It was followed by a special ministerial session on improving the business environment to attract foreign investment to Africa, addressed by cabinet ministers from Uganda, Chad, Angola and the General Manager of the Kenya Investment Authority.
AFIF has become a permanent feature of the conference circuit on African affairs and the role of the finance sector in the continent’s development. It has grown from success to success, and is drawing ever larger numbers of key-decision makers from all over the world. Always ahead of events, the AFIF conference has also been an opportunity to witness geopolitical shifts in the global balance of power, with an increasing number of delegates from Asia, as well as a very strong presence of some key emerging economies in Africa such as Angola and Nigeria. The conference, however, has the ambition to include not just countries already in the media headlines, but also to highlight many of the quieter success stories on the continent and the untapped opportunities for international investors.
The dominant theme of the conference this year is partnerships for growth and development, with a specific focus on financing of SME projects.
In the words of Idit Miller, vice-president and Managing Director of EMRC, “this conference is much more than a talk shop. Holding AFIF in Amsterdam carries a powerful message from the African continent onto the doorstep of key international decision-makers. This message, which is increasingly being heard, is that the African continent is no longer just about natural resources and commodities but much more about untapped opportunities in the fields of energy, agri-business, trade, retail, health, finance, housing and industrial development - to name just a few”.
This year’s edition, addressed by an impressive number of high-profile speakers from the fields of banking, industry, trade and academia, has more than 300 delegates, a record for any EMRC conference organised in Europe so far.
EMRC’s dynamism in facilitating business in Africa will constitute one of the most tangible benefits for the delegates, through its professional matchmaking services in collaboration with ITC (International Trade Centre).
The social highlight was the Gala Evening on Tuesday in the winter garden of the Grand Hotel Krasnopolsky, when EMRC presented the winner of the US $ 15,000 EMRC-African Development Bank Project Incubator Award.
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Media & Communications Manager, EMRC International