A two-day Global Africa Business Initiative (GABI) event has raised Africa’s profile in the global economy and positioned the continent as a top destination for business, trade, and investment. The event, dubbed ‘Unstoppable Africa 2023’ after its conclusion, left a lasting impression on the African continent. The gathering not only charted the course for economic growth, but also solidified GABI’s pivotal role as a catalyst for change and progress.
Caroline Wanga, CEO of Essence Ventures, stressed the necessity of properly portraying African narratives on the second day of the event, noting that the continent’s rich legacy has traditionally been portrayed through its distinct storytelling ways. Wanga stated, “It is critical to engage in genuine dialogue when discussing Africa.” We’ve celebrated our heritage through our particular storytelling style, which the world craves now more than ever. As the CEO of Essence Ventures and other platforms, I am dedicated to ensuring that our stories are told with strength and sincerity.”
The final day featured a chorus of important voices from the commercial sector. Notable business and media leaders include: Jeff Wong, EY Global Chief Innovation Officer; Niraj Varia, CEO of iProcure Ventures; Lakeshia Ford, Founder of Ford Communications; Claudia Kwarteng-Lumor, Founder of Kollage Media; Somachi Chris-Asoluka, Producer of GLITZ AFRICA Magazine; and Tony Elumelu, CEO of The Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF).
H.E. Felix Tshisekedi, President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Adebayo Olawale Edun, Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy for Nigeria, and Joy Basu, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of African Affairs at the US Department of State, were among those in attendance. NBA stars Bismack Biyombo and Gorgui Dieng, as well as Senegalese musician Baaba Maal, also spoke.
Sanda Ojiambo, Assistant Secretary-General and CEO of the United Nations Global Compact, the organization that coordinates GABI, emphasized the essential importance of harnessing Africa’s green potential. Ojiambo’s lecture emphasized the need for businesses to accelerate and expand their efforts toward just, inclusive, and sustainable growth.
Pamela Coke-Hamilton, assistant secretary-general, invited firms to join the International Trade Centre’s (ITC) SheTrades network. Since its beginning in 2015, this flagship program for women’s economic empowerment has already had a significant impact, providing critical support to over 200,000 women entrepreneurs. The ITC SheTrades project is critical to capitalizing on the limitless potential provided by the African Continental Free Trade Agreement. GABI’s influence is growing across Africa, with over a thousand attendance, laying the groundwork for a future defined by opportunity and sustainable development.
The event’s robust exchange of ideas, engaging, thought-provoking debates, and connections strengthen its place as a premier gathering for individuals invested in Africa’s progress and economic future. The Timbuktoo initiative was unveiled by UNDP’s Ahunna Eziakonwa, an assistant secretary-general, assistant administrator, and director of the Regional Bureau for Africa. It is an ambitious movement aimed to utilizing Africa’s rich tradition of creativity and expertise.
According to Ms. Eziakonwa, “inspired by the historical heartland of civilization, ‘Timbuktu’ is our commitment to bridge the gap between Africa’s burgeoning talent and global opportunities that await. We foresee breaking down the obstacles that have historically hampered Africa’s immense potential, paving the way for a future in which the continent’s brilliance is seamlessly connected to global prosperity.”
The ceremony concluded with remarks from Amina J. Mohammed, the UN’s Deputy Secretary-General, emphasizing the need of joint action in realizing Africa’s potential and achieving sustainable development. She urged the international community and the commercial sector to unite and support her. She emphasized that this is only the beginning of a new chapter in Africa’s history, one distinguished by sustained economic growth, empowerment, and the full realization of the continent’s potential.