Saudi Gazette | 25 November 2010
by SHAHID ALI KHAN
RIYADH: Five heads of African states will participate in the Gulf Africa Investment Conference 2010 – fostering economic relations here on Dec. 4-5, Dr. Fahad Al-Sultan, Secretary General of the Council of Saudi Chambers of Commerce and Industries (CSCCI) said Wednesday.
Prince Saud Al-Faisal, Minister of Foreign Affairs will lead the Saudi delegation in the two-day conference organized by CSCCI in partnership with the Gulf Research Center. Other members in the Saudi delegation include government officials, university professors and research scholars.
Abdulrahman Bin Hamad Al-Attiyah, Secretary General of the Gulf Cooperation Council will also participate.Besides heads of states Armando E. Guebuza, President of Mozambique; Jose Eduardo Dos Santos, President of Angola; Thomas Yayi Boni, President of Benin; Rupiah Bwezani Banda, President of Zambia; Emilio Mwai Kibaki, President of Kenya; Abdoulave Wade, President of Senegal; a large number of officials from GCC and other African countries will also participate. With food security at the top of the political agenda, the participants will explore emerging trends in agriculture in GCC states and Africa and debate on how to turn them into mutually beneficial business relations between the two sides. The event held under the theme of ‘One Region Unlimited Opportunities’ will discuss on topics such as ‘Can Africa, being a net food importer be a credible and long term source for the Gulf’s soaring food imports?’, ‘Do Gulf agricultural investments have the potential of transforming Africa’s livelihood beyond meeting her food imports?’, ‘What mechanisms should be adopted while negotiating agri-investment deals – investments across the supply chain or Greenfield investment; investment in back-end such as processing, packaging or any other format? Sultan said the main purpose of the conference is to formulate a set of policy recommendations that can promote and advance the multifaceted and growing ties between the GCC states and Africa. Currently, the institutional relations between GCC states and Africa are still in their infancy stage and it would be necessary to create opportunities to network and establish working opportunities, he added. The Kingdom is underlining the importance of the Gulf-Africa Investment Conference by stressing the commitment to develop the strategic relationship with countries in the African continent. “The conference will bring together key leaders and personalities from government, business, academia and media to outline the issues and challenges facing more constructive economic and business-to-business relations between the key regions of Africa and the Gulf,” he said.