Wednesday, 21 March 2007

International Business Forum (IBF) Turns to Africa

It is widely recognized that Africa needs more business investment for its development. Yet many companies regard investment in Africa as too risky an affair. In order to scale up investments that are not only profitable but that also contribute to Africa’s development, InWEnt together with the World Bank Institute recently held a conference on “The Business Challenge Africa”, looking at this issue. The conference report is out now and stresses the good opportunities that forward looking companies can seize by being part of a thriving African economy. The report is to be commended for the concrete examples it provides as case studies on how business has actually found ways to reach to the vast market at the bottom of the pyramid, as most recently discussed in World Bank’s The Next 4 Billion. The report also recognizes the significant role of the financial and knowledge bridges that can be built by the Diaspora and south-south economic relations (see the Silk Road).

What’s next? The 12th International Business Forum "Business Engagement for Governance" will take place 8-10 October in Washington D.C., and look at how business, together with its stakeholders, can shape a sound and stable business framework to scale up more investments and more business contributions to development. Participants will look at innovative ways for business engagement in reducing fraud and fighting corruption. Not an easy issue to tackle, but certainly one that needs the attention it will get from big players. Look for updates on the upcoming conference at

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