THE World Economic Forum for Africa comes to Kigali, Rwanda, May 11-13.
Founded 45 years ago, and best known for its annual winter meeting in Davos, a mountain resort in Graubünden, in the eastern Alps region of Switzerland, the World Economic Forum as grown into the foremost international institution for public-private dialogue.
The annual Forum brings together some 2,500 top business leaders, international political leaders, intellectuals, and journalists to discuss the most pressing issues facing the world.
The organisation also convenes some six to eight regional meetings each year around the world, with Kigali hosting this year’s WEF Africa series.
Here are ten things worth knowing about WEF, taken from the organisation’s latest annual report:
1. The World Economic Forum was founded as a not-for-profit foundation in 1971 by Klaus Schwab, Professor of Business Policy at University of Geneva. He is globally recognised for his initiatives in integrating entrepreneurship with the broader public interest.
2. The Forum engages the foremost political, business and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas.
3. WEF is actively engaged in Africa with governments of 20 countries, more than 60 companies from the continent, over 100 Young Global Leaders and 80 Global Shaper Hubs.
4. The 2015 World Economic Forum on Africa, held on 3-5 June in Cape Town, South Africa, marked the 25th year of WEF’s involvement with Africa. Under the theme Then and Now, Reimagining Africa’s Future, the meeting welcomed over 1,000 participants from almost 80 countries and 53 meeting supporters.
5. At last year’s meeting, WEF’s Strategic Infrastructure initiative identified 23 infrastructure implementation projects in Africa, which require the public and the private sectors working together to answer the continent’s needs. The projects are at various stages of implementation.
6. The Grow Africa Partnership, founded at WEF Africa meeting four years ago, is now benefiting 8 million smallholder farmers and creating 58,000 jobs. Over 200 companies within the Grow Africa Partnership have together committed $10 billion in investment to agriculture in 12 African countries.
WEF, through its Centre for the Global Agenda, works to address several of the world’s most pressing global issues through the acceleration of progress on new or expanded public-private cooperation.
Some examples of the Centre’s impact—
7. On the future of the internet: Launch of a multi-year initiative to promote partnerships for governance, cyber-crime and expanding internet access; the initiative engages 50 leading public sector, academic, business and civil society figures as trustees for this unique public-private global collaboration
8. On infrastructure, long-term investing and sustainable development: Creation of the Sustainable Development Investment Partnership working to mobilise $100 billion in private finance for development, launched at the recent United Nations Financing for Development conference in Addis Ababa in partnership with the OECD and a coalition of public and private actors
9. On economic growth and social inclusion: Launch of the new Inclusive Growth and Development Report, which assesses the drivers of economic prosperity and the extent to which countries are exploiting the available policy space to foster higher levels of productivity and social inclusion
10. On natural resource security and climate change: Mobilisation of the Tropical Forest Alliance, a $10 million global partnership hosted by the Forum to help companies, governments and civil society organisations achieve zero net deforestation by 2020 in the supply chains of beef, palm oil, paper and pulp, and soy – currently drivers of half of the world’s tropical deforestation.