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Africa to seek solutions at Economic Forum

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 8 – African leaders meet again in South Africa this week to assess global and regional implications of the world economic crisis and develop a new roadmap for Africa’s future.

The 19th edition of the World Economic Forum that is due to take place between Wednesday and Friday this week will see the launch of the 2009 Africa Competitiveness Report which is expected to provide valuable insight for the deliberations.

"Faced with the prospect of a prolonged economic slowdown, global leaders are assessing the health and future of their respective economies," a statement on the forum\’s website says.

The statement emphasises that: "The birth of a new era is calling for an overhaul of our governance and financial systems and a return to responsible and accountable leadership."

Prime Minister Raila Odinga will lead the Kenyan delegation to the forum expected to leave the country on Monday evening. On the delegation includes Trade Minister Amos Kimunya and his Agriculture counterpart William Ruto. Trade Permanent Secretary Cyrus Njiru and National Oil Managing Director Mwendia Nyaga are also on the trip.

The forum comes at a time when many economies in the continent continue to record slow and stagnated growth. South Africa has already announced its worst recession. Affected by the post election crisis and caught up by the economic crisis Kenya last year recorded one of its worst growth rates in the recent past coming down to 1.7 percent down from seven percent in 2007.

"Discussion will focus on the impact of the crisis on Africa’s traditional drivers of growth including foreign capital flows, demand for oil and commodities, and infrastructure development," the statement on the forum said.

"A key focus will be on Africa’s investment climate and identifying practical solutions to foster better business practices and greater investment across the continent," the statement adds.

Mr Odinga is also scheduled to hold a number of bilateral meetings with a number of leaders during the Forum.

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Co-chairs of the forum include for United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, Dubai Group Executive Chairman Soud Ba\’alawy and Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Board Chairman Jiang Jianqing. Others are SABMiller Chief Executive Graham and World Bank Managing Director Ngozi Okonjo.

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