Africas Economic Emancipation Conference (AFREECON) (AFREECON)
Venue: Navy Pier
|Event Date/Time: Oct 19, 2009||End Date/Time: Oct 21, 2009|
|Registration Date: Oct 17, 2009|
|Paper Submission Date: Jul 31, 2009|
AFREECON is a 3-day Conference, developed to contribute to economic development and economic growth in African countries by promoting trade between African countries, the US and the rest of the world. AFREECON will focus on:
Â· critically important projects in infrastructure, mass transit, power generation, manufacturing and processing industries and industries that will facilitate transition of African countries from exporters of raw materials to exporters of finished goods
Â· regenerative economic development through entrepreneurial culture and good governance
Â· business interaction and matchmaking between African countries, US and International companies operating in Africa, entrepreneurs and global counterparts
Â· repatriation of profits and capital in any economic environment
Â· avenues for financing projects in African countries
Â· development of Venture Capital Industry and sources in African countries for industrial, high technology and service ventures
Â· risk mitigation avenues for investment in African countries
Â· a better international image for the continentâ€™s countries
The AFREECON Agenda -
Day 1 of the conference will cover the prevailing economic and industrial status quo. Speakers will discuss it from the African and international perspective. Discussions will center on past economic development strategies and why they have fallen short. It will explore the strategies of some NIEs with a view of giving representatives of African governments as well as African business leaders an opportunity to see what has worked in other parts of the world.
Day 2 will be devoted to African countries presenting their countries to the audience. Each presentation will be preceded by a short video presentation on the country.
Day 3 will discuss funding strategies for projects. The speakers will analyze several case studies and discuss specific funding strategies that made it possible to execute the projects in tough hard-currency environments. One of the foremost experts in international countertrade will discuss the use of countertrade techniques as a (trade and project finance) mechanism appropriate for economic development in tough hard currency environments.
Various Special Events to promote and further the overall interaction amongst the attendees, foreign dignitaries and the event sponsors, including lunches, a gala dinner and the event concert
The Benefits of AFREECON -
AFREECON is a conference whose time has come. It is a unique opportunity to learn about the excellent business opportunities that exist in the countries of Africa. This is not a conference to promote help or aid for African countries, but rather to highlight the many opportunities for successful business ventures in African countries. This conference will shed a spotlight on the welcoming â€œOpen for Businessâ€ sign in most if not all the African countries. Most people know of the prolific natural resource production capacity of African countries; few, however, are aware of the transformation that is taking place on the continent. Through steadily improving education, African countries have been able to acquire an excellent capable work force that is anxious for an opportunity to be gainfully employed. African countries as a group are emerging as a major source of present and future energy for the world economy and are currently the number one foreign source of crude oil for the US economy. Converting African countries from raw material suppliers to finished goods exporters is a process, which will generate tens of billions of dollars in business opportunities for banks, investment funds, companies and entrepreneurs. In shedding a fair and balanced light on the countries of the continent, AFREECONâ€™s mantra is that â€œneeds equals opportunityâ€.
Â· AFREECON is a conference that will educate participants, facilitate match making and promote trade. The event will bring a broad range of interested parties together in a three-day deal-facilitating forum. The US Department of Commerce estimates that one billion dollars of US Exports creates 20,000 US jobs.
Â· AFREECON will help to put in play (direct and indirect private and public sector) projects of between three and five billion dollars. It is incumbent on attendees and participating companies to open the proverbial â€œdoorâ€ and capture as much of the opportunities as possible.
Benefits to participating businesses and entrepreneurs:
Â· Networking and Business relationships - Attendees and speakers will include entrepreneurs, bankers, business and political leaders from around the world. AFREECON is a forum for businesses and entrepreneurs to network in a relationship development arena that is conducive to deal making.
Â· Companies with existing service, manufacturing or processing operations in African countries - An initiative that helps to strengthen and expand the economic base of African countries will also increase consumer purchasing power and translate to a broader market for companies doing business in African countries. Companies will benefit from the evolution from exporters of raw materials to manufacturing and processed goods exporters. Not only will African countries be able to diversify hard currency revenues and de-couple their economies from the unpredictable swings of commodity prices; but every company operating in African countries, as a result of the transition will be the beneficiary due to easier access to hard currency for purchasing raw materials and supplies but also for repatriating capital and profits
Â· Promotional Exposure - The conference and peripheral activities will be taped for re-broadcasting in as many countries as possible; including countries in Africa, the Caribbean and North America and in Europe. The promotional audience for companies, participating countries and other conference participants is more than 1 billion people.
Â· Funding techniques - The conference will shed some light on (industrial and infrastructure) project funding mechanisms that will create direct business opportunities for contractors, exporters of industrial plants and machinery and technical expertise.
Â· Small business opportunities - The conference will provide a level playing field for small and large businesses alike to compete for infrastructure contracts facilitated directly and indirectly by the conference.
Â· Entrepreneurs - AFREECON will enable global entrepreneurs to have a fair and impartial forum from which to learn about doing business in Africa without having to do so through the prism of crisis reporting about the continent in the international mass media.
Â· Creating new markets, suppliers and profit centers - AFREECON will enable visionary business leaders to see the opportunity in the massive plethora of industrial, trade and development menu that comprises the needs of African countries and how partaking of the menu could also positively impact the overall strength of their business interests.
Benefits to African countries, entrepreneurs and businesses:
Â· Networking and Business relationships: It is a unique opportunity to develop inter-personal relations with business leaders, international bankers, fund mangers, entrepreneurs and businesses from around the world.
Â· Promotional Exposure: The conference will afford African representatives the opportunity to articulate, in their own voice, a case for their countries. The conference has allotted time for representatives of each participating African country to address the attendees and discuss the development opportunities, business incentives, socio-political environment, etc, in their respective countries.
Â· Development Strategies: African countries will benefit from a comparative analysis of development and economic strategies, employed by other regions and countries, which have proven to be more successful than what has obtained in African countries.
Â· Funding Mechanisms: African countries have, traditionally, lagged most of the rest of the world in using innovative funding mechanisms that have been validated in other parts of the world, as effective tools for funding infrastructure, industries and trade. Example of key tools that have been underutilized are: (a) compensatory trade, which has been used very sparingly by African countries in spite of the widespread success achieved by many countries in other parts of the world; and (b) ABS or Structured products, which has been a proven and successful innovation in finance and development in recent times.
Â· Entrepreneurship: Promoting good capitalism and positive entrepreneurship is a critical recipe for sustainable (long term) economic development and growth in African countries. The discussion on entrepreneurship will outline the key role of entrepreneurship in fostering economic development and growth, supplying goods and services and creating jobs in society. African officials will hear from entrepreneurs who, by sheer force of â€œwillâ€ and â€œdeterminationâ€, have built enduring companies based on â€œgood capitalism and positive entrepreneurshipâ€ in their respective communities.
Â· Governance: The discussion on governance will be helpful for both the participants from African countries and prospective entrepreneurs and businesses that are interested in exploring opportunities on the continent. A sustained effort to improve on all aspects of governance will go a long way towards assuring the business world of the seriousness of African countries to improve the (socio-economic-political) environment in their countries and thereby the lives of their citizens.
Â· Jobs, industries and infrastructure: The true arbiter of the benefit of AFREECON to African countries is whether the conference leads directly and/or indirectly to new projects that will, in turn, lead to new sources of goods and services and jobs for the participating countries. The goal of the conference is to stimulate immediate and near-future projects. Some of the areas of opportunity include:
o Infrastructure. Mass-transit rail systems; International Rail and roads systems; based on â€œAfrica-centricâ€ financial engineering and offset provisions that will create new industries, introduce new technology and jobs. Other opportunities include toll-roads, private sector driven power generation and in-land waterways and transport systems.
o Converting from raw material suppliers to manufactured or processed goods suppliers. There are opportunities for many new projects in export-oriented industries, which are based on using some of the raw materials that African countries are supplying to the world.
o Agriculture. Food and export crops based on small to medium scale projects. One of the natural advantages inherent in African countries is substantial arable land. Another advantage is that Agro-industrial giants have come to dominate farming in the industrialized countries; while, on the other hand, farming in many African countries, require the level of know-how and capability which small to medium scale farmers in industrialized countries have.
o Food processing industries for domestic and export.
o Utilizing labor advantage for manufacturing and processing of consumer and industrial goods for export as well as for domestic consumption.
o Tourism and Sports industry.