Open for Business

Africa: Open for Business Summit
United Nations
Wednesday, 26 September 2018
6:30pm to 8:30pm
Concept Note

The African Renaissance and Diaspora Network (ARDN), the UN Senior Africans Group, and the African
Union Commission, and the Permanent Mission of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to the United Nations,
in collaboration with the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) , the United Nations
Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women), the United Nations Population
Fund (UNFPA), the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) and the Global
Partnerships Forum (GPF), with support from the United Nations Department of Public Information, will
host the Africa: Open for Business Forum at the United Nations during the high‐level debate in September
to showcase the leadership of the African continent in addressing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable
Development and the African Agenda 2063.
This paper provides some thoughts for the Africa: Open for Business Forum, including insights on engaging
the public and private sectors to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.
Africa’s Development
Africa’s economy, built on agriculture, trade, and industry, has seen steady growth over the last decade.
The continent and over 1 billion people were fortunate to escape the financial crisis. However, Africa still
remains the poorest continent, and, collectively, its states’ combined GDP is less than 1/3 of the United
While Sub‐Saharan Africa continues to be challenged in the economic and social sectors, Africa is now the
fastest growing continent, growing at 5‐7% annually. Africa’s infrastructure, agriculture and labour force
is improving through African Union initiatives such as the Programme for Infrastructure Development in
Africa and the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme, and its commitment to
employment and skills development. The UN, IMF, and World Bank see continued improvement in the
welfare of the African people. These institutions predict most countries will reach middle‐income status
by 2025. The GDP for Sub‐Saharan Africa, for example, is expected to increase to $29 trillion by 2050.
In order to benefit their people for the next 50 years, in 2015 African leaders adopted Agenda 2063 as the
continent’s new long‐term vision to optimize resource usage, inclusive growth and sustainable
development. The vision of Agenda 2063 is linked to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,
which was adopted later that year at the UN.
Leadership of Africa at the United Nations
Africa, including Senior Africans at the United Nations, has played a pivotal role in creating the UN’s
blueprint for action for the SDGs. Mrs. Amina Mohammed, Deputy‐Secretary‐General of the United
Nations and former Minister of Environment of Nigeria, alongside H.E. Mr. Kamau Macharia, who served
as Co‐Facilitator of the UN Post‐2015 Development Agenda, President Ellen Johnson‐Sirleaf, who served
on the High‐level Panel of the Post‐2015 Development Agenda for both the UN and AU, and Minister Sam
Kutesa, the 69th President of the UN General Assembly, was instrumental in bringing about the creation
of the 2030 Agenda which is also fully aligned with Africa’s Agenda 2063. In her current role, she focuses
on implementing this Agenda, with a particular focus on education, global health, climate change,
migration, women’s empowerment and financing for effective development.
A number of organizations in the UN System are focused on efforts to address the social gaps on the
African continent. The Office of the Special Adviser on Africa garners international support through
advocacy, analyses and coordination of UN System support. The UN’s work includes highlighting
opportunities for investing in Africa and developing innovative solutions that can be implemented across
the UN family, especially through ECA, DPI, UNDP, UNICEF, UN Women, UNFPA, UNCTAD, UNEP, UNHabitat,
UNESCO, WHO and many others.
Role of the Private Sector
The private sector has been influential in the development of Africa’s economy, particularly in regard to
the Sustainable Development Goals. Private equity players invested $3.8 billion in 145 deals across Africa
in 2016, supporting initiatives ranging from agriculture and energy to healthcare and financial sectors.
Many investment monoliths point out that investing in “social good” creates an even bigger return.
Investing in Africa, as many have already realized, creates social good and financial return – the goal of
impact investing.
Looking Ahead
Agricultural growth and open opportunities for quality education are crucial to the success of Africa’s
economy. Agriculture accounts for 1/4 of GDP and 2/3 of employment in Sub‐Saharan Africa. Currently,
Africa’s agricultural productivity is half of the global average. In order to cultivate food in a sustainable
way, Africa needs increased private investment and technological innovations. Using more innovation
and private equity to fund infrastructure development, whether it be roads or hospitals, will help Africa
rise past its current economic position. Given Africa’s current trajectory, UNICEF predicts that Africa’s
population will reach 2.5 billion by 2050, the vast majority being under the age of 35. In order to provide
for this growing continent, Africa requires open business with the international community.
Due regard must also be given to the effects of climate change and desertification, and the need for clean
water, in relation to agriculture and economic development. There is also need to further explore human
capital investments and population dynamics, being mindful of the need for women and youth‐led
harnessing of the demographic dividend of the continent
Education touches all disciplines, all realms of social activity, quality of life, and all aspects of
entrepreneurship. It strengthens every one of the SDGs. When a strong system of education is put in
place, one that is inclusive and creatively tailored to regional needs and values, a true African Renaissance
is inevitable.
Africa: Open for Business Summit and the Africa‐Diaspora SDGs Summit
The Africa Open for Business Summit Is a two‐part Initiative, starting with the New York launch in
September 2018, followed by the First Africa‐Diaspora SDGs Summit, to be held later in Banjul, The
The Africa‐Diaspora SDGs Summit will convene mayors and elected officials, youth international
intergovernmental organization officials, educators, artists and intellectuals, the private sector and civil
society, with a view towards Achieving Public Understanding of the SDGs and Africa Agenda 2063 through
Education, building on the outcomes of the Africa: Open for Business Summit.
Africa: Open for Business Summit ‐ Recognizing Pioneers
The Africa: Open for Business Forum will bring together leaders from governments, private sector, and
civil society to recognize the important role of African business, innovation, and entrepreneurship for
social good.
Innovation is thriving in many African nations, providing an opportunity to foster the roots that have
already appeared. There are many new initiatives and ideas coming out of Africa, including from social
entrepreneurs, investors and the business community, focused on addressing social challenges. The
African Diaspora is also playing a key role in bringing new investments and ideas to the region. Science,
Technology, Education and Mathematics (STEM) are paramount in solving traditional problems, including
poverty, education, health, energy, environment, etc. At the same time, gender equality and women’s
empowerment are key to ensuring that women, who constitute approximately 50% of the world’s
population, benefit from the growth opportunities in the region.
The Forum will highlight some emerging ideas and solutions that are solving the SDGs to encourage scaling
and replication.
Summit Format
This event will consist of four 20 minute segments consisting of a welcome and keynote, a high‐level
roundtable, an awards ceremony, a SDGs partnerships roundtable and a business roundtable. The panels
will be in Davos style format.
High‐Level Participants
The following is a tentative (tbc) list of VIP participants at the Africa: Open for Business Summit:
States & Governments
● H.E. Mr. Paul Kagame, President of the Republic of Rwanda and Chair of the African Union
● H.E. Mr. Alpha Condé, President of the Republic of Guinea and Immediate‐Past Chair of the African
● H.E. Mr. Abdel Fattah el‐Sisi, President of the Arab Republic of Egypt, and Incoming Chair of the African
● H.E. Mr. Nana Akufo‐Addo, President of the Republic of Ghana and Co‐Chair of the Sustainable
Development Goals Advocates
● H.E. Mr. Adama Barrow, President of the Republic of The Gambia
● H.E. Mr. Julius Maada Bio, President of the Republic of Sierra Leone
● H.E. Mr. Muhammadu Buhari, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Chair of the Economic
Community of West African States
● H.E. Mr. Hage Geingob, President of the Republic of Namibia and Chair of the Southern African
Development Community
● H.E.Mr. Mahamadou Issoufou, President of the Republic of the Niger
● H.E. Mr. Uhuru Kenyatta, President of the Republic of Kenya
● H.M. King Mohammed VI, King of the Kingdom of Morocco
● H.E. Mr. Ali Bongo Ondimba, President of the Gabonese Republic and Chair of the Economic
Community of Central African States
● H.E. Mr. Macky Sall, President of the Republic of Senegal and Chair of the New Partnership for Africa’s
● H.E. Mr. Patrice Talon, President of the Republic of Benin
● Hon. Ms. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Former President of the Republic of Liberia
● Hon. Mr. Serigne Mbaye Thiam, Minister of Education, Republic of Senegal
United Nations
● H.E. Mrs. Amina J. Mohammed, Deputy‐Secretary‐General of the United Nations
● Mr. Adama Dieng, Under‐Secretary‐General and Special Adviser of the Secretary‐General on the
Prevention of Genocide, and Co‐Chair, UN Senior Africans Group
● Ms. Phumzile Mlambo‐Ngcuka, Under‐Secretary‐General and Executive Director of UN Women, and
Co‐Chair, UN Senior Africans Group
● Ms. Vera Songwe, Under‐Secretary‐General and Executive Secretary for the United Nations Economic
Commission for Africa; Co‐Chair, UN Senior Africans Group Personnel Taskforce
● Ms. Natalia Kanem, Under‐Secretary‐General and Executive Director of UNFPA
● Ms. Bience Gawanas, Under‐Secretary‐General and Special Adviser on Africa to the United Nations
● Ms. Lise Kingo, CEO and Executive Director of the United Nations Global Compact
● Ms. Alison Smale, Under‐Secretary‐General for Global Communications, United Nations Department
of Public Information
African Union
● H.E. Mr. Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairman of the African Union Commission
Private Sector & Civil Society
● Mr. Aliko Dangote, GCON, President & Chief Executive of the Dangote Group
● Ms. Fatma Samba Diouf Samoura, Secretary General of FIFA
● Mr. Darren Walker, President of the Ford Foundation
● Ms. Peggy Dulany, Executive Chair of Synergos
● Hon. Rev. Jesse Jackson, American civil rights leader, Baptist minister and politician
● Mr. Aliaune Damala Badara Akon Thiam, Singer and Songwriter
● Mr. Bola Adesola, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Standard Chartered Bank, Co‐vice
chair UN Global Compact Board
● Ms. Helen Hai, Founder, Made in Africa Initiative; Head of Blockchain Charity Foundation; UBS Global
● Mr. Kerry Adler, Founder, President, CEO and Director, SkyPower Global
● Mr. Mohammed Dewji, President and owner of MeTL Group
● Ms. Akiko Seyoum, CEO, Orchid Business Group, Ethiopia
● Mr. Tewodro Ashenafi, CEO, SouthWest Energy
● Mr. James Mwangi, CEO, Equity Bank, Kenya
● Mr. Joshua Oigara, Group CEO, Kenya Commercial Bank
● Ms. Amy Jadesimi, CEO, Ladol, Nigeria
● Mr. Jim Ovia, CEO, Zenith Bank
● Mr. Iyinoluwa Aboyeji, CEO, Andela
● Ms. Rita Kavashe, MD, General Motors East Africa
● Mr. Olaoluwa Rasheed, CEO, Bank of Industry Nigeria
● Mr. J. Tinubu, Oando Nigeria
● Mr. Nnamdi Okonkwo, MD, Fidelity Merchant Bank, Nigeria
● Mr. Bright Simons, CEO, mPedigree
Participants will include of Heads of State and Government, CEOs from businesses and civil society,
philanthropists, and entrepreneurs.
Summit Leadership Team
● H.E. Mr. Tijjani Muhammad‐Bande, Ambassador Plenipotentiary and Extraordinary, Permanent
Representative of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to the United Nations
● Mr. Adama Dieng, Under‐Secretary‐General and Special Adviser of the Secretary‐General on the
Prevention of Genocide, and Co‐Chair, UN Senior Africans Group
● Ms. Phumzile Mlambo‐Ngcuka, Under‐Secretary‐General and Executive Director of UN Women, and
Co‐Chair, UN Senior Africans Group
● Mr. Nelson Muffuh, Head of Office, Office of the United Nations Deputy‐Secretary‐General
● Dr. Djibril Diallo, President & CEO, African Renaissance and Diaspora Network, and Executive
Director, UN Senior Africans Group
● Mr. Victor Kisob, Director, Learning, Development & Human Resources Division, United Nations
● Mr. Amir Dossal, President and CEO, Global Partnerships Forum
Summit Partners/Supporters
The Summit will provide an opportunity for a select group of companies and organizations to partner with
and sponsor the Africa: Open for Business Summit, with the aim of collaborating on concrete SDG projects
and initiatives in Africa.