Published On: Sat, May 18th, 2013

Somalia at the Africa Jubilee Business Forum

hassan2Africa Diplomatic Corps, Foreign Common Wealth Office (FCO) and Common Wealth Business council (CBC) hosted the Africa Jubilee Business forum on the 13th of May in London’s Lancaster House. The forum which was opened by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and graced by Ethiopia’s Foreign Affairs Minister Hon Dr. Tedros Adhanom brought together all Africa Heads of Missions, businesses operating in Africa and was celebrating the 50 years of business/trade relations between the UK and Africa and aimed at strengthening the ties.

 The occasion could not be held at a better time with the spotlight firmly on the continent, owing to the fact that it is a time of unparalleled interest from multinational investors and businesses across the globe.

The Somali Economic Forum (SEF) and Dahabshiil were amongst the invited guests whose focus on Somalia’s economic development has received accolade amongst the business community.

Somali Economic Forum’s Hassan M. Dudde expressed his delight in the strengthening relations between Europe and Africa stating, “It makes me happy to see Africa thriving and it is very important for African and British businesses as well as governments to co-operate with one and other to continue developments.”

In the case of Somalia, Hassan continued,” The narrative is shifting, a country once associated with war and poverty, we are now speaking investment”, that is why my organisation exists.

The African Diplomatic Corps in partnership with the Commonwealth Business Council and the Foreign & Commonwealth Office launched a report highlighting the enormous economic contribution of British businesses to Africa’s economic development and the opportunities for further economic linkages and partnerships with businesses in Africa.

Forum’s chief Guest Deputy Prime Minister in his keynote address emphasised the pivotal role of business to transform the lives of millions of Africans across the continent.

Recent research shows that almost a quarter of African countries’ GDP grew at 7% or higher in 2012. It’s estimated that that growth across the continent could rival China in years to come.Now that’s a story worth telling, but one often lost in the customary narrative of conflict and instability in Africa. So it’s time to rewrite the script. Africa is being transformed: once perceived by the outside world as merely a continent in distress; now looked to as a great continent of opportunity. Over the next decade revenues from newly discovered extractive resources in Africa will increase massively, dwarfing aid volumes.In 2010 exports of oil and minerals from Africa were worth £216 billion – nearly seven times the value of international aid in the same year – £31 billion.

In contrast Nick Clegg also spoke of some of the challenges Africa faces, pointing out that, “too often in the past such revenues have bypassed Africans – due to unfair tax systems and opaque business deals. Lining the pockets of the few. Denying investment and jobs for the many. That has to stop.”  This is something that Hassan Dudde has previously identified as a major stumbling block in Africas development and is an area African leaders need to be more accountable for.

In talks with Hassan Dudde the UK Minister for Africa congratulated the Somali Economic Forum for its achievements and its efforts to be part of rebuilding Somalia’s economy.

Ethiopian Foreign Minister and Chairman of the Executive Council of the African Union, Dr. Tedros Adhanom, also contributed informing participants the continent is, “slowly but surely shedding the stereotype image of being a continent of famines, droughts, conflicts, utter poverty and dictatorships, that portrayed Africa to be a lost cause in many people’s imagination.”

The event not only celebrated the continents achievement during the last 50 years but also the next 50 years of Africa’s unity. The challenges Africa faces cannot be ignored but Africa needs to continue to focus on the major, growing commercial opportunities that do exist. Building on our work together through the African Union, EU and G8 and directly with African States, I can see opportunities that benefit both Africa and the UK.

for more information about Somali Economic Forum

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Somalia at the Africa Jubilee Business Forum
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