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The 20th World Economic Forum on Africa Kicks Off in Tanzania

  • Michael Onyiego

The 20th World Economic Forum on Africa is underway in Dar es Salaam. The event brings scholars and leaders from around the world to discuss new strategies for Africa's growth in the aftermath of the global financial crisis.

The Forum has gathered nearly 1,000 participants from 85 countries to participate in discussions on Africa's economic future and its prospects for growth.

Heads of state from across the continent will be participate in the discussions during the next three days, including South African President Jacob Zuma, Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga, Rwandan President Paul Kagame, and Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.

International business and political leaders such as African Development Bank President Donald Kuberuka and World Trade Organization Director-General Pascal Lamy will also contribute to the forum.

The theme of the 2010 meeting is Rethinking Africa's Growth Strategy. Though many regions are still experiencing economic contraction, Africa is recovering from the global financial crisis and the IMF has indicated the continent will grow by 4.5 percent in 2010.

Speaking before the event, World Economic Forum Africa Director Katherine Tweedie said the meeting provides an opportunity to fortify Africa's growth.

"And I think as we come through the economic crisis, Africa has surprised many with its resilience and a faster than expected recovery," said Tweedie. "So key sessions throughout the course of the three days will be looking at the drivers behind Africa's growth, including the social factors that help underpin the future for Africa."

The forum will also address potential inhibitors of future progress, including access to education, healthcare and investment capital, as well as peace and security in a continent that is continuously plagued by conflict.

The World Economic Forum is a Geneva-based foundation that brings together business, political, intellectual and cultural leaders from around the world to discuss issues confronting the international community. This the first time the gathering has been held in East Africa.