"A prosperous Africa is exactly what the world needs to get out of recession," African Development Bank Group (AfDB) President Donald Kaberuka told a group of business, policy and economic leaders in Washington, DC on Monday. While there are challenges when it comes to encouraging people to recalibrate their approach to the region, Kaberuka said, the "leaders who are here are business people who are looking to engage in that challenge."
The Brookings Institute sponsored event, "Charting a New Economic Future: Opportunities, Entrepreneurs, and Consumers Changing a Region," was held in tandem with the first US Africa Leader's Summit taking place in the nation's capital this week.
Experts discussed the most critical agenda items including trade, commercial ties, security and foreign investment.
Kaberuka was joined by Sudanese-born mobile communications mogul Mo Ibrahim; young Nigerian entrepreneur Jason Njoku, who seized on the opportunities in emerging markets to raise $21 million in just two years for his once fledgling digital media business; and Carolyn Campbell, Managing Director of Emerging Capital Partners, a company that fuels business and creates jobs on the continent.
Speaking about the AfDB's commitment to changing the investment landscape in Africa by working with the private sector, Campbell said, "The African Development Bank believed private sector investment could make private sector returns." That confidence, she said, helped pave the way for her company, which she said has invested in 55 African businesses and is now working in 45 African countries. This has created thousands of jobs in the process, she said.
Continuing to drive home a point he has repeatedly made this week in Washington, Kaberuka said growth in Africa will come from economic transformation. That transformation, he insisted, will be generated with the help of international partnerships. "We give out $2 billion in funding to businesses, including American companies," he said.
Partnership and investment leading to greater prosperity: A strategy that strikes at the heart of this week's landmark summit.