Forum Taormina on Africa: third edition ended

Salim Amim, chairman A24 media (Kenya) while speaking

The third edition of the Forum on Africa, organised in Taormina (Sicily, Italy) by Fondazione Banco di Sicilia and The European House Ambrosetti, hosted the presentation of two projects: one of telemedicine and an agri-food park.

Yesterday, Friday October 2nd, was dedicated to agribusiness and sustainability. The day began with speeches by Paolo Borzatta (The European House Ambrosetti), Pier Giorgio Romiti (engineering company C. Lotti & Associati) and Alexander Sarris (Director of Trade and Market Division of FAO, Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations).

After the speech of Lynette Chen of NEPAD, it was the time for African ministers Fred Mukisa (minister of state or fisheries, Uganda) and Bradford Machila (Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries, Zambia).

Mukisa, after specifying the reasons for investing in Uganda and particularly in the fishing industry, said: “We have the sun but do not have the know-how to turn it into energy”. His colleague Machila after listing the data on the fishing industry in Zambia, said: “The country is committed to being open to the world and to defend the rule of law.”

After a 10 minutes debate, interventions have been made by David Olusanya Ajakaiye (Director of Research, AERC – African Economic Research Consortium, Kenya), Mary Shawa (Secretary of State or nutrition, HIV and AIDS, Malawi), Elham Ibrahim (Commissioner for Infrastructure and energies of the African Union).

After presenting the data and emphasised the importance of infrastructure in Africa, Ajakaiye said: “The IMF should play a complementary role in Africa and not a restrictive one.”

Shawa, secretary of state of Malawi, after stressing the progress made by her country in fighting diseases, including HIV / AIDS, said about the development of her  country that the key to African development over the next five years is “the transformation from an export economy to a value-added one”. Later, during the debate, Mary Shawa said: “I want the EU bureaucratic system to change  because now anyone requesting a contribution for a project will receive it in two years time.”

African Union commissioner Ibrahim reported that all programs meant to improve infrastructure, in particular the program Pida (Program for Infrastructure Develoment in Africa). A communication system that is very similar to the European Union based on corridors. Ibrahim said: “the program Pida is key to unlocking the human potential and raw materials”

After the intervention of EU commissioner Tajani, who said: “Europe must become a privileged partner Africa”, it was the time for the speech of Clive Tasker (CEO, Standard Bank Africa, South Africa). He stressed how quickly the African markets are growing and why it is wrong to consider Africa as if it was a single country while in fact it is a vast continent with many differences within it.

China and India – Tasker said – are the most important partner for Africa.”

After a few minutes from the end of Tasker’s speech, a video was shown about the food crisis in Somalia in the 80s. This video introduced the speech of A24 media chairman, Salim Amim: “The reason why I decided to show this video, beside saying that those images are true in some parts of Africa even today after more than twenty years, is to emphasise the importance of the media in all continents and in Africa”.

“Every continent – said Amim – has a 24-hour news channel. The only one who don’t is Africa and it should.”

Li Guofu (director of the department in developing countries, China Institute of International Studies), Samir Mirdad (president of Linx Investment) and Alemayehu Tegenu (Minister for Energy of Ethiopia) spoke after Amim about opportunities and greater difficulty for business investors in Africa.

In the latter part of the last day of the Forum on Africa in Taormina Italian politicians spoke: minister Brunetta, Adolfo Urso (deputy minister of economic development), Vincenzo Scotti (Undersecretary of the Italian ministry of Foreign Affairs) and Stefano Manservisi (Director General, Development and relations with the ACP, Africa, Caribbean and Pacific, for the EU).

In the next hours will be posted the photos and video interviews Forum on Africa in Taormina.

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