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Anglo-African Business & Trade Exhibition launched in London

By Africa Week magazine

Bernard Otabil, Director of Communications and Public Affairs of the Anglo-African Business and Trade Exhibition has stressed the need for Africa to enhance its development options through capacity building. According to Otabil, capacity building is an effective way of ensuring that the continent keeps on track its commitment to development.

Mr Otabil made the observation at the launch of the Major Anglo-African Business and Trade Exhibition on January 20 at the Hilton Hotel, Bayswater in London. The event is scheduled to take place from July 29 to 31 at the Excel Exhibition Centre in the London Docklands.

“Building the capacity for Africa's development is crucial for the continent's development. This would enhance the continent's image and therefore help with the continent's progress and survival. A more enhanced capacity would offer all the necessary guarantees for profitability of invested capital”, Mr Otabil said in his keynote address at the launch.

“Over the years, even though some countries in Africa have made progress in building their capacity by strengthening law and order, developing their infrastructure base including communications infrastructure, overall the continent still lags far behind other regions in the world”.

“And it is not that nothing has been done over the years to reverse this deplorable state. In the past analysts and commentators blamed the problem on the lack of political will, criticising politicians for not doing enough to help the ordinary people. Today, we don't have the same problem, as the politicians have gotten involved. They seem to care about the people. But we are confronted with a different scenario. What we see today is that the politicians have the will this time around, but lack the capacity to implement their plans. This means that we must all contribute our quota if the continent is to develop further”, Otabil added.

Dr Ekwow Spio Garbah, chief executive officer of the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation based in London who chaired the function called on Africans, particularly those in the Diaspora to use their expertise to help with the continent's development, especially in the area of capacity building. “I speak as an African and for that matter a Ghanaian who once lived outside the continent and therefore know exactly what it means to engage the Diaspora in the continent's development. I must say that my experience of engaging more with other Africans abroad helped me a great deal when I later became Ghana's Ambassador to the United States and also in the performance of my duties in other public positions I held in my home country, Ghana”, Spio Garbah said.

Dr Spio Garbah praised the organisers for taking the bold step to put together such a good concept that can only promote Africa's development. “We all need to support this initiative and contribute our quota to the development of Africa.”

The Anglo-African Business and Trade Exhibition is organised by Africa Week Conferences and Africa Initiative UK. The launch in London was attended by African Heads of Mission in the UK, the international media, representatives of companies and businessmen. The event, which will include conferences on banking and finance, the importance of the remittance industry, housing market, mining, construction, aviation and the overall contribution of the Diaspora to the development of African markets will take place at the Excel Exhibition Centre at London's Docklands from July 29 to 31.

It is expected that more than 1000 exhibitors will attend the event with thousands more attending the conferences as delegates. The annual African Excellence Awards which will honour people who have made outstanding contributions to Africa's development will be launched.

Notes to editors

Africa Initiative (UK) is a private sector initiative aimed at engaging all Africans in the Diaspora in Africa's development. This new African initiative aims to inspire grassroots participation in Africa's development by encouraging more networking and knowledge sharing among Africans. The ultimate aim is to encourage and promote trade through exhibitions and conferences. In July 2001, the “New African Initiative” was adopted in Lusaka, Zambia by African Heads of Government, which provided a glimmer of hope for Africa in the 21st Century. The New African Initiative became the “New Partnership for African Development” (NEPAD) in October 2001 to complement the African Union's potential to facilitate the continent's quest for speedy, meaningful and continued socio-economic development. Africa Initiative (UK) therefore aims to engage the people in the agenda set by the politicians on Africa's development.

Africa Week magazine is the leading weekly English language magazine to cover African politics, business and social affairs. Managed by the editors of West Africa magazine, the weekly online and monthly print magazine is recognised as an authority on Africa. The magazine is respected for its independence, insight and understanding of the salient issues that affect Africa and the rest of the world. It has established itself as probably the most authoritative journal on Africa and has become a principal reference point for academics, businesses and governments.

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