Annual Africa Economic Conference charts the way for inclusive integration

  • Written by  African Daily Voice

The Annual Africa Economic Conference is important to charting the way for inclusive integration said Hon. Claudine Uwera, Rwanda’s Minister of State in charge of Economic Planning while speaking on behalf of Rwandan President H.E Paul Kagame.

Taking place at the Marriot Hotel in Kigali, from 3-5 December, the ongoing Africa Economic Conference 2018 is focusing on Africa Visa Openness and integration.

The annual Africa Economic Conference is the continent’s leading forum fostering dialogue and knowledge exchange in the search for solutions to the development challenges of Africa. It brings together leading academics, high ranking government representatives and development practitioners from across the globe.

The annual Africa Economic Conference is the continent’s leading forum fostering dialogue and knowledge exchange in the search for solutions to the development challenges of Africa.

AEC 2018 will highlight “transformative initiatives for accelerating progress in infrastructure integration that are inclusive and promote equity, including the removal of barriers for movement of people, goods, and services across borders.”

“The conference addresses a theme “close to our hearts and important pages of our continent’s development history are being written,” said Uwera.

“This conference is important to charting the way for inclusive integration that would benefit all. Governance will determine the development path for our countries,” added Uwera noting the equally important role of political will and commitment from African leaders.

Host nation Rwanda has taken bold leadership steps to champion regional integration, announcing at the beginning of this year an entry visa on arrival for travelers from all African countries.

For millions of ordinary travellers, inter-African travel is still too often a nightmare. Be it border hassles, lack of road or air routes linking key cities, or the frustrations of being refused entry to a country because of visas, the end result is to curtail the free movement of people, viewed by the African Development Bank as one of the pillars of regional integration.

That freedom of movement is inextricably tied to the Bank’s vision to create the next global market in Africa. As the Africa Economic Conference opens in the Rwandan capital Kigali, the theme this year: Regional and Continental Integration for Africa’s development,” also aligns with another major Bank priority – placing infrastructure development at the centre of Africa’s regional integration efforts.

The United Nations Development Programme UNDP) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) also commended Rwanda’s role as a front-runner for integration efforts in Africa and spoke on the urgent need to build on the momentum for an inclusive and equitable integration.

“The government of Rwanda is walking the talk and continues to set the pace,” said Ahunna Eziakonwa, Assistant Administrator, for United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Regional Bureau for Africa.

Sessions over the three-day meeting will examine the social, cultural and political frameworks for successful integration, building on the landmark signing this year of the Africa Free Trade Agreement the world’s potentially biggest free trade agreement, which aims to create a single continental market for goods and services, with free movement of business persons and investments across Africa.
Participants will also look at the role of the private sector and civil society institutions.

Given the urgency of regional integration – “no longer a choice,” according to its organizers, this year’s meeting is a must attend for those interested in Africa’s Development agenda.

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