Amsterdam, 15 December
The 2009 edition of the Africa Finance & Investment Forum (AFIF), organised by Brussels-based EMRC, officially came to a conclusion today at the ABN AMRO Conference Centre in Amsterdam after three days of intense business networking and a focus on building partnerships and growth for development.
Closing the proceedings, Idit Miller, VP and Managing Director of EMRC, expressed her thanks to the sponsors who made AFIF 2009 a resounding success: “Without our sponsors, it would be very difficult to organise such a complete programme. The ITC has been instrumental in facilitating all the business to business meetings. We also thank ABN AMRO for hosting the forum, as well as our partners FMO, BiD Network, the European Investment Bank (EIB), the African Development Bank (AfDB), MARG Group from India, Heineken and Clifford Chance. We could not have hoped for a better mix of corporates, financial institutions, lawyers, and entrepreneurs to help us bring about this forum and build partnerships for African entrepreneurs”.
Most of yesterday was dedicated to a series of plenary sessions covering a wide range of topics on African investment, including boosting African economies through entrepreneurship, the role of commercial banks in the development of private initiatives, and the role of International Financial Institutions (IFIs).
The day's proceedings were rounded off in grand style last night during the Gala Evening at the hotel Krasnapolsky, during which Mr Derek Kwesiga, founder and CEO of Derekorp in Uganda, received the EMRC-AfDB Project Incubator Award. An elated Mr Kwesiga, who runs a promising young venture in the fruit processing business, promised to put his $ 15,000 prize to good use in his company and the community at large.
Work resumed this morning, with delegates taking part in a series of 6 workshops and discussion panels on crucial matters affecting the African investment climate. These include infrastructure projects, strengthening human skills, improving access to energy, promoting rural entrepreneurs, boosting regional integration through trade, and supporting micro, small and medium enterprises.
AFIF09 was also, as in previous years, an excellent networking opportunity for entrepreneurs and potential investors in Africa, with dozens of Business-to-Business meetings taking place during the forum.
The closing ceremony was also the occasion for Idit Miller and H.E. Henry Bagiire, Minister for Agriculture of Uganda, to jointly announce the next EMRC AgriBusiness Forum in Kampala, Uganda in October 2010. Inviting his audience to come to Uganda next year, Minister Bagiire said “Uganda is the ideal host for an event of this kind, for the promotion of businesses and the expansion of opportunities in the agribusiness field in Africa. EMRC is a network of entrepreneurs, financiers and officials. AgriBusiness 2010 will focus on food security and global business opportunities - and the development of agribusiness is one of the Ugandan government's top priorities - we thank EMRC for this opportunity”.