Montreal, Wednesday, October 11, 2017 – The organizers of Forum Afrique Expansion had set high expectations for the latest edition of the major biennial business gathering, and they did not disappoint. Organized by Afrique Expansion in partnership with the African Development Bank and the Government of Québec, the event has as its mission to promote partnerships and interactions with respect to business opportunities in Africa and Canada. The event brought together close to 500 participants, among them numerous well-known figures, at Montreal’s Sheraton Centre last October 2 and 3.
Prestigious speakers and a spotlight on Morocco
In terms of content, Forum Afrique Expansion 2017 presented a half-dozen seminars and panels on a variety of forward-looking themes. The speakers provided participants answers to important questions on what Africa has to offer and on needs and eventual sources of financing, assistance and partnerships.
Following opening remarks by Québec’s Minister of the Economy, Science and Innovation and Minister responsible for the Digital Strategy, Ms. Dominique Anglade, Québec’s Minister of International Relations and La Francophonie, Ms. Christine Saint-Pierre, and the executive director of Maroc Export, Ms. Zahra Maafiri, were the keynote speakers at the Forum’s two main luncheon conferences. Ms. Saint-Pierre reiterated her government’s commitment to establishing ever stronger business partnerships with Africa. She announced the opening of new offices, one in Côte d’Ivoire, the other in Morocco, to bring to three the Québec government’s presence on the African continent (an existing office being in Dakar, Senegal). The decision illustrates the priority this region of the world represents for Québec.
For her part, Ms. Maafiri lead the audience on a discovery of Morocco’s potential in the fields of resources, exports and investment. Morocco represents one of Africa’s most attractive economies. She invited participants to visit the country to discover for themselves the wonderful business opportunities there. To this end, a delegation of 30 local Moroccan businesses attended the Forum under the aegis of Ms. Maafiri’s agency, Maroc Export, representing an important cross-section of the varied and particularly high-end industrial fabric of the Cherifian Kingdom.
The event’s much-anticipated announcement, regarding the “Deal of the Year,” revealed the signing of an agreement between the Canadian Consortium for a Digital Economy in Africa (CCENA) and the Government of Cameroon for the establishment of a Digital City in the capital, Yaoundé, a US$120 million undertaking. This project is the first of its kind, yet is expected to be replicated elsewhere in Africa, according to the promoters.
A “sold-out” gala
Nearly 500 participants attended the event’s closing gala evening, during which a number of personalities received Afrique Expansion Awards of Excellence in acknowledgment of their exceptional contributions to the development and image-building of Africa over the past two years. As well, attendees enjoyed the magnificent voice of Cameroon’s operatic bass-baritone Jacques-Greg Belobo. Finally, a vibrant tribute was paid to Mr. Babacar Ndiaye, former president of the African Development Bank and a member of Afrique Expansion’s advisory council, who passed away last July 13 in his native Senegal.
About Forum Afrique Expansion
Launched in 2003, Forum Afrique Expansion is the only networking platform in Canada dedicated to Africa-Canada partnerships and business opportunities. The event helps participants familiarize themselves with the political situation and business climate of African countries.
Source: Afrique Expansion Inc.