Portsmouth-UK: Partnerships and collaboration among business leaders in Africa have been described as the surest path to the continent’s economic growth and prosperity. Speakers and panelists made this known during the recently held East African Business Dinner & Awards, which was organized by Africa’s leading Pan-African Publication, African Leadership Magazine, held at the Ubumwe Grande Hotel, Kigali, Rwanda.

The dinner which brought together business leaders from across the region, including Kenya, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Congo Brazzaville, and a full suite of the Rwanda Business community was aimed at increasing intra Africa trade and understanding the benefits of the recently signed African Continental Free Trade Agreement to the business community on the continent.  

The President, Private Sector Federation, Rwanda, Mr. Robert Bapfakurera, while contributing to the panel discussion, said that “building a successful Business in Africa, requires robust technical and financial partnerships.” Continuing, he maintained that it would have been impossible for him to build his hotel business, which is worth over $40 Million without the right partners.  

On his part, the Managing Director, Savannah Cement Kenya, Mr. Ronald Ndegwa, stated that “while Africa is a huge market, we must look at the world as our market, if we are to make any meaningful progress.” Mr. Ndegwa who was the guest at a fireside conversation hosted by Mr. Edmund Kagire, an Award-winning Journalist with over a decade experience-currently working with the East African & Rwanda Today owned by Nation Media Group, spoke about Savannah Cement’s ambitious expansion schemes across East Africa; strict compliance to environmental standards among other issues.

East Africa remains the fastest-growing sub-region in Africa, with an estimated growth of 5.6 percent in 2017, up from 4.9 percent in 2016. Growth is also expected to remain buoyant, reaching 5.9 percent in 2018 and firming further to 6.1 percent in 2019. However, analysts have maintained that the sub-region, as well as Africa’s industrialization aspiration, lies beyond these numbers. Global economic watchers are of the view that sustainable growth requires strategic regional interaction, collaborations, and partnerships, among business leaders in the region and the continent at large.

On its part the African Union has popularized the concept: Intra-Africa Trade, making it a buzzword in the continent. AU’s ambitious drive to boost intra-Africa trade stems from a recent finding which shows that trade volume in sub-Saharan Africa will more than triple by 2030, from 102.6 million tonnes in 2009 to 384 million tonnes.

The event was, therefore, put together to sustain the conversation and contribute towards bringing business leaders together towards forging mutually beneficial partnerships.

The event was also used to commend 4 distinguished business leaders including Dr. Daniele Sassou Nguesso, Entrepreneur, and founder, Sounga Foundation, Congo Brazzaville; Mr. Ronald Ndegwa, Managing Director, Savannah Cement, Kenya; Alice Kilonzu-Zulu, CEO, Eco Bank, Rwanda; Mr. Zunaid Moti, Chairman, Moti Group, South Africa/Zimbabwe. They were honored for their contribution to the growth of business and entrepreneurship in the continent.

Other guests at the event includes: Dee Dawkins-Haigler: immediate past Chair, Georgia Legislative Black Caucus USA; Clement Uwajeneza, CEO, RwandaOnline Platform Ltd., and Chairman, ICT Chamber; Mr. Jean Bosco Safari, CEO Agribusiness Focused Partnerships Organization; Mr. Edward Yin, Chairman, Alink Investment Company Ltd, members of the diplomatic community and over 100 members of the Rwandan Business Community.

African Leadership events organized around major world capitals and international city centers have become an unrivaled platform for B2B Communications, as well as government-to-business engagements. These high-profile meetings of key decision makers and business leaders have been largely responsible for some major investments in Nigeria, Ghana, Liberia, to the tune of over $2 Billion. It has also helped in establishing the partnership between companies from Africa and their counterparts in the United States, United Kingdom, Indonesia, China, UAE and other parts of the world. ALM events have hosted past and current, presidents, heads of government, business leaders, diplomats and civil society actors.