Over 70 representatives of business, regional bodies and financial institutions involved in trade and investment issues from 30 African countries and African Union (AU) Commission officials are meeting in Seychelles to assess and analyse the business growth and development on the African continent.
The African Prosperity Conference being held over three days has been organised by the Pan African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) in partnership with the Seychelles Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI).
Vice-President Danny Faure officially launched the conference, which is taking place at the Eden Bleu Hotel, in the presence of the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Transport Joel Morgan, the chairman of the SCCI Marco Francis, President of PCCI Dr Seth Adjei Baah, among other distinguished guests and delegates.
The meeting for African chambers of commerce and industry is taking place under the theme ‘African Prosperity Conference – In Business With Business.’
The three-day event aims to explore Africa’s exporting potential, ensure all businesses have access to essential information on the Continental Free Trade Area, hear inspiring stories, learn from established business and banking executives, receive country specific advice, and join engaging workshops with their business peers.
Addressing everyone present VP Faure said the African Union’s Agenda 2063 is not attainable under status quo.
“But alas, this is why we are gathered here today. We need to do better. We can do better,” he said.
He pointed out that Seychelles has done much better in spite of the fact that we are yet to discover oil or natural resources.
“Some may even think that we were able to progress this much because we did not have these resources, but it does not matter whether you think natural resources are a blessing or a curse. If we, Seychelles, a tiny speck in the middle of the ocean, could achieve so much in the past four decades, then so can our continental neighbours,” he said.
“Dare to dream,” he stated, “and together we just might accomplish it.”
“We can do great things, but in order for it to work, it needs to be done together. Conferences such as these have an important role to play in supporting this process,” he continued.
Mr Francis urged the delegates to make this forum a positive and beneficial form of partnership and do business among us Africans.
He said this forum is a continuation in fulfilling the dreams of leaders and that we should unite rather than continue to depend on international aid.
“We should strengthen our ownership of the development process, take ownership of its resources and the denomination of external forces on our continent,” he said.
Minister Morgan said Seychelles is proud to showcase Africa’s prosperity and its opportunity despite the challenges that African countries face.
“We have every reason to be optimistic because we believe that Africa is already well on the way to creating its own economic opportunity without having to rely too much on others,” he said.
He noted that this forum is an opportunity for the African private sector to come together with the governments and business leaders and strengthen the tools that we have to create our own growth and our own opportunity.
The conference provides an opportunity to address these issues, by reflecting on relevant future goals and advocacy work, in order to develop a strong and unified message regarding the inclusion of small business interests in future trade and investment negotiations.
The PACCI was established in 2009 as a network of 34 national chambers of commerce of Africa, including the SCCI, which sits currently on its executive council along with Ghana National Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Ethiopian Chamber of Commerce and Sectoral Associations, Chambre Algérienne de Commerce et d’Industrie, Chambre de Commerce et d’Industrie Congo Brazzaville, Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce, Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry Mines and Agriculture, Chambre Fédérale de Commerce et d’Industrie du Burundi, Federation des Chambres de Commerce et d’Industrie et de services du Morocco, Chambre de Commerce et d’Industrie Inde-Congo.
Source : Seychelles NATION