News / Africa

World Economic Forum to Open in Nigeria

Peter Clottey
World leaders, including several African heads of state and government will gather this week in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja, for the World Economic Forum.

Headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland the World Economic Forum is an independent international organization committed to improving the state of the world, by engaging business, political, academic and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas.

This is the first time a West African country will host the conference.

“The World Economic Forum views itself as a partner in Africa’s transformation," said Elsie Kanza, the World Economic Forum head of Africa. “Our annual meeting which is [involves] the gathering of communities of leaders to engage and address issues of opportunities or challenges that are facing the continent.”

There are more than 15 current and former heads of state and government who will attend the conference, according to Kanza.

Critics say the World Economic Forum often attended by African leaders has become an ordinary talk-shop, which they contend has failed to come up with solutions to improve African lives.

But Kanza says the World Economic Forum is cooperating with African leaders to come up with solutions to address challenges the countries face.

“We have been working on an agricultural related initiative called Grow Africa and just over the last two years, we have had [a] $7 billion investment commitment ... mobilized for the last two years, and this has already translated to $1 billion actually being invested.  And more impressively, a majority of this investment comes from African companies.  It is translating into jobs and is changing the lives of farmers,” said Kanza.

The investment, Kanza says, has created 33,000 jobs and has directly impacted 2.6 million small-holder farmers in a positive way.

Some experts say Nigeria could benefit from the focus and attention that the World Economic Forum will bring on the country especially, after the West African country overtook South Africa as the continent’s biggest economy.

Kanza outlines some of the impact the meeting could make on the continent.

“The focus of our meeting is to revisit growth by paying attention to how we can ensure that the majority of Africans can participate in the growth process as well as the benefit from the outcome,” said Kanza. 

“We are discussing [and] placing stronger emphasis on this is the role of women and the economic empowerment of them.  Without peace and security, it is difficult to make progress in any respect as well as human rights.”

Some Nigerians have expressed worry the recent surge in insecurity across the country, including the abduction of students as well as bombings in Abuja, could mar the conference, despite the government’s assurances to improve security during the meeting.

But Kanza says she has been assured by the administration of improved security during the forum.

“The government of Nigeria is very concerned about security over all for the country not just for the conference ...  the government is putting in place major security measures to ensure that the meeting takes place peacefully,” said Kanza.
Clottey interview with Elsie Kanza, World Economic Forum Head of Africa
Clottey interview with Elsie Kanza, World Economic Forum Head of Africai
|| 0:00:00

You May Like

Guatemala Mudslide Death Toll Rises to 86

Death toll is expected to continue to rise as emergency crews dig through tons of earth for an estimated 350 people still missing More

Goodbye Pocahontas: Photos Reveal Today's Real Native Americans

Weary of stereotypes, photographer Matika Wilbur is determined to reshape the public's perception of her people More

Debris Found in Search for Missing Ship

Objects located Sunday have not yet been confirmed to be from the 240 meter container ship, El Faro, which disappeared in the eye of Hurricane Joaquin, according to US Coast Guard More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: Sir Abali, Innocent, Jp from: Nigeria, Rivers State
May 07, 2014 1:11 PM
Well, terrorism is now a global issue, and that can't stop Nigeria States and other African States from cross fertilization of ideas on how to move the continent forward. Those seeking on to kill innocent children should understand that one day they live to pay for it. Wishing all the delegates successful celebrations.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europei
Luis Ramirez
October 02, 2015 4:45 PM
European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europe

European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video First Self-Driving Truck Debuts on European Highways

The first automated semi-trailer truck started its maiden voyage Friday, Oct. 2, on a European highway. The Daimler truck called 'Actros' is the first potentially mass-produced truck whose driver will be required only to monitor the situation, similar to the role of an airline captain while the plane is in autopilot mode. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Migrant Influx Costs Europe, But Economy Could Benefit

The influx of hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants is testing Europe’s ability to respond – especially in the poorer Balkan states. But some analysts argue that Europe will benefit by welcoming the huge numbers of young people – many of them well educated and willing to work. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

Video New Fabric Helps Fight Dust-Related Allergies

Many people around the world suffer from dust-related allergies, caused mainly by tiny mites that live in bed linen. Polish scientists report they have successfully tested a fabric that is impenetrable to the microscopic creatures. VOA’s George Putic has more.

Video Burkina Faso's Economy Deeply Affected by Political Turmoil

Political turmoil in Burkina Faso over the past year has taken a toll on the economy. The transitional government is reporting nearly $70 million in losses in the ten days that followed a short-lived coup by members of the presidential guard earlier this month. The crisis shut businesses and workers went on strike. With elections on the horizon, Emilie Iob reports on what a return to political stability can do for the country's economic recovery.

Video Fleeing Violence, Some Syrians Find Refuge in Irbil

As Syrians continue to flee their country’s unrest to seek new lives in safer places, VOA Persian Service reporter Shepol Abbassi visited Irbil, where a number Syrians have taken refuge. During the religious holidy of Eid al-Adha, the city largely shut down, as temperatures soared. Amy Katz narrates his report.

Video Nigeria’s Wecyclers Work for Reusable Future in Lagos

The streets and lagoons of Africa's largest city - Lagos, Nigeria - are often clogged with trash, almost none of which gets recycled. One company is trying to change that. Chris Stein reports for VOA from Lagos.

Video Sketch Artist Helps Catch Criminals, Gives a Face to Deceased

Police often face the problem of trying to find a crime suspect based on general descriptions that could fit hundreds of people in the vicinity of the crime. In these cases, an artist can use information from witnesses to sketch a likeness that police can show the public via newspapers and television. But, as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, such sketches can also help bring back faces of the dead.

Video Thailand Set to Build China-like Internet Firewall

Thai authorities are planning to tighten control over the Internet, creating a single international access point so they can better monitor content. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok on what is being called Thailand’s own "Great Firewall."

Video Croatian Town’s War History Evokes Empathy for Migrants

As thousands of Afghanistan, Iraqi and Syrian migrants pass through Croatia, locals are reminded of their own experiences with war and refugees in the 1990s. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from the town of Vukovar, where wartime scars still are visible today.

Video Long Drought Affecting California’s Sequoias

California is suffering under a historic four-year drought and scientists say even the state's famed sequoia trees are feeling the pain. The National Park Service has started detailed research to see how it can help the oldest living things on earth survive. VOA’s George Putic reports.

VOA Blogs