Ivory Coast: Economic, political actors engage as Africa CEO forum kicks off

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More than 1,800 participants, including heads of states, and several hundred leaders of the largest African and international companies, are gathered in Abidjan, the economic capital of Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast) for the Africa CEO Forum 2022.

This 2022 edition of the Africa CEO Forum which kicked off Monday comes at a time when the world in general and Africa in particular is going through great economic shocks. 

Frédéric Maury, Managing Director of Jeune Afrique, and organizer of this meeting highlighted the return of the forum on the significance of in-person meetings.

"The last edition of the Africa CEO Forum took place in 2019 in Kigali with great success, where we had 1500 participants at the time who had gathered around the theme of the Africa continental free trade treaty. Unfortunately, in 2020, we had to cancel the forum a few days before the event that was to be held in Abidjan because of the pandemic of COVID. So for us, it is the great return of the annual in-person edition" Maury said.

"We did a lot of digital for two years so we did not disappear, but indeed it is the annual physical edition that returns this year, so there is a very important stake for us. And what really surprised us and made us happy, is that the membership is massive since we have 1,800 participants on this edition, that is to say more than before the COVID. So people are coming back, we feel that people wanted to meet again, to network. We have participants from more than 75 countries who sometimes only see each other once a year at the Africa CEO Forum and some of them told me yesterday that they had not seen each other for three years, so it is a real pride, a real pleasure to see all these people again after these difficult years". he added.

Many of the companies present at the forum have welcomed its return. For them, this is a real platform for exchange and reflection to find solutions for Africa's growth and development.

"We are delighted to partner with the advocacy firm for the Women Working for Change section, which is close to my heart as a person and to our company, as we are committed to promoting diversity. So it was a no-brainer for us, really. When we were asked to support the Women Working for Change brand." Patricia Obozuwa VP of Coca Cola Africa said.

For Samba Bathily - CEO of ADS Global, this is about knowledge and ideas. "From discussion comes light. We are here to discuss, to meet, to exchange and at the end of these meetings, we can put in place exchange platforms to change this continent", Bathily told our correspondent, Yannick Djanhoun.

In his speech at the opening ceremony, Alassane OUATTARA, President of the Republic of Côte d'Ivoire, praised the resilience of African economies despite the economic crisis that the world is experiencing.

Yannick Djanhoun reports that for the first time since 2019, the largest gathering of the African private sector held in person is going on smoothly having started on Monday June 13. This 2022 edition, it should be noted, marks the tenth anniversary of the Africa CEO Forum, he said.

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