According to globoport.hu, more than 1200 leading businessmen from all around the world were present at the 10th American-African Business Forum that lasted for 5 days in Addis Ababa. The Ethiopian president, Hailemariam Desalegn told the opening speech and mentioned – among others – that more and more Asian investors go to the African continent.
“Besides our American partners, I want to thank the Indian and Chinese businessmen that they make more and more investments in African countries. This conference is a great opportunity for investors to get to know the African characteristics. We want to introduce ourselves to the whole world. The Ethiopian economy developed dynamically in the past decade; we have more and more investors from China and India. We have been working really hard to improve legal certainty. We’ll do everything to boost tourism so that African countries will become safe touristic targets.”
Sándor Balogh, the president of the African-Hungarian union (AHU) and the founder of the Hungarian Trade and Cultural Centre (HTCC) network, thinks that the continually growing presence of the private sector can lead to the rise of Africa in the future.
“The USA wants to be in the leading position of the African developments. This is indicated by this conference which is organised in every two years. I was there in Washington four years ago and in Chicago at the U.S.-Africa Summit two years ago. It is organised by the Corporate Council on Africa (CCA) and that shows that Africa isn’t only important for Europe and China but also for the USA. Africa is the last, accessible virgin market and it could mean an enormous spending power.
The consumer society hasn’t developed fully on the continent, it is still more a cost-of-living society. The African countries need to be organised from an economic, legal and infrastructural aspect. Africa is heading in the direction of having an independent, stable market for investors that are looking for new fields. As I’ve mentioned, Africa is yet a virgin market, but its legal frames need to be developed.
I think that Addis Ababa is the centre of Africa, such as New York is for the world. It is the centre of the African Union; this is where all the decisions are made. Moreover, when I was in the centre of the UN in New York, everybody told me that African ambassadors have their eyes on Addis because that’s where all the decisions are made. The policy of the Southern Opening certified AHU’s communication that Africa is important. Thanks to the Southern Opening, Hungary is opening an embassy in Addis Ababa. The government will even send a delegation with the lead of Péter Szijjártó, Minister of Foreign Affairs, in April to Addis Ababa to hand over the so called Hungarian test tram line. I think that this is a perfect example of how you can reach the African market with determination and cleverness. Naturally, in the African market we can mostly sell our knowledge and technologies connected to renewable energy. These are as developed as in the Western world, but we can offer it still cheaper. And since we didn’t colonise Africa they turn to us more easily than to former colonial countries.”
One of the most important guests of the forum was Dr. Abdallah Albert Toikeusse Marbi, the Minister of Foreign Affairs for Ivory Coast, who said that more and more professionals are waiting for foreign partner in Africa.
There were also Hungarian leading businessmen at the conference. Zoltán Szedlacskó, the president of the consultative corporation of AHED GLOBAL and the former president of EBCAM (Business Council for Africa and the Mediterranean) said that it is Hungary’s economic interest to be present in African countries as much as possible.
Stephen Hayes, the organiser of the event and the president of CCA said in his opening speech that the incorporation of the private sector will be the big breakthrough for Africa.
The special delegate of UN was a Hungarian professional, Gábor Beszterczey, who is responsible for the 12 countries of the “big lakes”. He’s been working with social and economic cases for a long time in Nairobi, the capital of Kenya at UN’s branch office. He said that UN does everything to help the African countries in becoming part of the circulation of the world economy.
Copy editor: bm