Press Releases

    UNIS/INF/292
    21 October 2008

                Re-issued as received

    Africa Investor-UNIDO CEO Forum to Address Supply Development and Regional Economic Integration Opportunities

    Vienna, 21 October (UN Information Service) - Africa investor (Ai), in conjunction with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), are to encourage local supplier development at the eagerly anticipated CEO forum to be held with leading African ministers, due to take place in Durban from 27-28 October 2008.

    The CEO Forum is an initiative that brings together over 40 African Ministers of Industry and African business leaders to formulate a plan for African Union (AU) Heads of State to endorse on the African Union Industrialization strategy. The strategy is designed to improve intra-African trade and the continent's international trade competitiveness. A key aspect of this strategy will be to establish an unprecedented partnership between business and the African Union to support supply chain development opportunities.

    An increasing proportion of world trade in manufacturing consists of components outsourced from low cost producers around the globe. To cut costs, large companies are reducing the number of suppliers they work with, switching to long-term supply contracts for both large and small companies. This delivers the long-term demand that leads to decisive technology upgrading, growth and internationalization of African companies, large and small. Local sourcing therefore represents an enormous untapped commercial opportunity for private sector development in Africa.

    A roundtable at the CEO forum will focus on business partnerships and the financing for supply chain development in Africa. Confirmed CEO's and speakers include: Dr Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, Chairman, NEPAD Business Group, Mr Sifiso Dabengwa, Group Chief Executive, MTN; Dr Cheick Diarra, Chairman, Microsoft Africa, Mr Mawuli Ababio, Managing Director, African Venture Capital Association (AVCA), Mrs Cecelia Ibru, Group Managing Director, Oceanic Bank, Mr Chris Gallagher, CIPS, Coca Cola SABCO, Ethiopia; Mr Mohlomi Mothobi, Tetrapak and Mr Paul Baloyi, CEO, Development Bank of Southern Africa to name a few.

    "Large companies operating in Africa often find it hard to identify local suppliers capable of meeting their business requirements," says Mithat Kulur, Head of UNIDO's supplier development programme. "For over 20 years, UNIDO's Industrial Subcontracting & Partnership eXchange Programme (SPX) network has collected data on member companies and acted as a clearing house for industrial subcontracting. We are now expanding the services it provides to include benchmarking and upgrading. The Africa Investor-UNIDO Forum will give us an opportunity to engage with some of Africa's largest companies and work with them to develop their supply base."

    The supply chain roundtable session will engage purchasing managers from multinationals operating in Africa, along with African business leaders to discuss how in the light of the global food and financial crisis the African Union and UNIDO in partnership with business can create the environment to boost economic development and jobs growth in Africa. UNIDO will be presenting their work in benchmarking potential suppliers and designing upgrading programs.

    Hubert Danso, Vice Chairman, Africa investor commenting on the CEO Forum, said: "Supply chain initiatives represent an enormous commercial opportunity for businesses operating in Africa. CEO's participating in the Forum will advise African Ministers of Industry and the African Union which conditions best promote intra African trade growth and job creation as global consumer and credit markets stagnate."

    The prestigious Africa investor Investment Awards will take place the evening of the CEO forum as part of the Ministerial dinner co-hosted by Africa investor, the dti, UNIDO and the African Union. The Ai Investment Awards will showcase Africa's investment success stories of 2008.

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    Africa investor (Ai) Investment Awards

    The Africa Investor Investment Awards reward exceptional business practices, economic achievements and investments across the investment spectrum in Africa including Best Bank, Sustainable Investing in Africa, Smart Regulation, Best Initiative in Support of the Millennium Development Goals, Businesswoman of the Year, African and International Business Leaders. In addition to business success, the awards emphasise responsibility towards society and good corporate citizenship.

    For more information visit: http://www.africa-investor.com/aiawards/awardwelcome.html

    Africa investor (Ai) is a specialist investment communications firm advising governments, international organisations and businesses on communication strategies for capital market and foreign direct investments in Africa. Africa investor publishes Africa investor, the leading international newsstand magazine for Africa's investment decision makers; maintains the Ai 40 Investors' Index, hosts the prestigious annual Africa investor Awards, the index Series Awards, and the annual Ai Projects Summit for infrastructure investors and developers.

    For more information visit www.africa-investor.com

    United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations whose mandate is to improve standards of living through the development of industries that are both internationally competitive and environmentally sustainable. Its main focus is on promoting growth in the small and medium enterprise sector - the key generator of wealth in most developing countries. UNIDO also plays a leading role in the implementation of the Montreal Protocol for the elimination of ozone depleting substances (ODS) and the Stockholm Convention for the elimination of persistent organic pollutants (POPs). For more information visit www.unido.org

    AFRIPANET is a network of African Investment Promotion Agencies. Its objective is to provide a platform for the development of policies to attract foreign direct investment in Africa, among other things through the commissioning of surveys of investors in the region.

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    For more information or to register for a media pass, please contact:

    Ayo Osunsanya
    Telephone: (+44) (0) 207189 8316
    Email: aosunsanya@africa-investor.com