The two-day Global Africa Business Initiative (GABI) event has boosted Africa’s standing in the global economy and established the continent as the foremost destination for business, trade, and investment.
The event, tagged ‘Unstoppable Africa 2023’ after conclusion, left a profound mark on the African continent, as the transformative gathering on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly has not only chartered the course for economic growth but has also solidified GABI’s pivotal role as a catalyst for change and progress.
On the second day of the event, CEO of Essence Ventures, Caroline Wanga, emphasised the importance of authentically portraying African narratives, while highlighting that the continent’s rich heritage has traditionally been expressed through its unique storytelling methods.
Wanga stated that, “In discussing Africa, it’s vital to engage in genuine dialogue. We’ve celebrated our heritage through our distinct method of storytelling, which the world is longing for now more than ever. As the overseer of Essence Ventures and other platforms, I am committed to ensuring our tales are told from a position of strength and authenticity.”
The final day featured a chorus of leading private sector voices. Notably, leaders from the business and media world such as; EY Global Chief Innovation Officer, Jeff Wong; CEO of iProcure Ventures, Niraj Varia; Founder of Ford Communications, Lakeshia Ford; Founder of Kollage Media, Claudia Kwarteng–Lumor; producers of GLITZ AFRICA Magazine, Somachi Chris-Asoluka and CEO of The Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF).
Complementing these luminaries were esteemed figures from government and international organisations, including President Masisi, H.E. Felix Tshisekedi, President of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Adebayo Olawale Edun, Minister of Finance and the Coordinating Minister of the Economy for Nigeria, Joy Basu, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of African Affairs at the US Department of State.
Also speaking were NBA stars Bismack Biyombo and Gorgui Dieng from the sports world and Senegalese singer Baaba Maal.
Assistant secretary-general, Sanda Ojiambo, CEO of the United Nations Global Compact, the entity that coordinates GABI, underlined the critical importance of unleashing Africa’s green potential. Ojiambo’s message stressed the urgent need for businesses to expedite and amplify their efforts toward achieving just, inclusive, and sustainable growth.
Assistant secretary-general, Pamela Coke-Hamilton, extended an invitation to businesses to participate in the International Trade Centre(ITC) SheTrades network. This flagship programme for women’s economic empowerment has already made a substantial impact, offering vital support to over 200,000 women entrepreneurs since its inception in 2015.
The ITC SheTrades initiative plays a pivotal role in maximising the boundless opportunities presented by the African Continental Free Trade Agreement.
With over a thousand attendees, GABI’s influence is gaining momentum across Africa, setting the stage for a future defined by opportunity and sustainable development.
The vibrant exchange of ideas, the engaging, thought-provoking discussions, and the connections forged during the event solidify its position as a premier convening for those invested in Africa’s growth and economic future.
UNDP’s Ahunna Eziakonwa, who is an assistant secretary-general, assistant administrator, and director of the Regional Bureau for Africa, announced the Timbuktoo initiative, an ambitious movement dedicated to harnessing Africa’s rich heritage of innovation and knowledge.
Ms. Eziakonwa stated that, “inspired by the historical heartland of civilization, ‘Timbuktu’ is our commitment to bridge the gap between the burgeoning talent in Africa and global opportunities that await. We envision tearing down barriers that have historically limited Africa’s vast potential, creating a future where the continent’s talent seamlessly connects with global prosperity.”
The event concluded with inspiring remarks from UN’s deputy secretary-general, Amina J. Mohammed, highlighting the importance of collective action in realising Africa’s potential and achieving sustainable development.
She called for unity and support from the global community and the private sector. She emphasised that this is just the beginning of a new chapter in Africa’s story, one marked by sustainable economic growth, empowerment, and the realisation of the continent’s full potential.