AFRICA SUMMIT – Building resilient, inclusive and sustainable growth

Download Programme

Held on the eve of the European Development Days, this high-level conference will look at the challenges and opportunities Africa must grapple with to ensure resilient, inclusive and sustainable growth. The continent is home to seven of the 10 fastest-growing economies in the world, but its continued growth and development still faces many challenges. With over two thirds of the world’s Least Developed Countries (LDCs), and half of Fragile and Conflict-affected States (FCS) situated on the continent, breaking the vicious circle of poverty and conflict is vital to ensuring a more prosperous future for millions of Africans. In addition, with more than half of Africans expected to live in cities by 2050, urbanisation is key to growth and development in Africa; whilst rural development will be central to the quantum leap in the rate of progress required for LDCs to achieve the SDGs.

With some of Africa’s top politicians and decision-makers in attendance, we will be debating ways of further re-energising the region’s growth and development.

Related content:

IMAGE CREDIT: CC / Flickr – Xevi V; jbdodane; CIAT; titoOnz/


15.00 – 15.30 Welcome coffee and registration of participants

With more than half of Africans expected to live in cities by 2050, urbanisation is the key to growth and development in Africa, bringing about considerable opportunities for structural transformation. If harnessed by adequate policies, urbanisation can help advance economic development through higher agricultural productivity, industrialisation, services stimulated by the growth of the middle class, and foreign direct investment in urban corridors. It also can promote social development through safer and inclusive urban housing and robust social safety nets. Meanwhile, the pivotal role of young Agripreneurs must also be recognised. In rural areas, young people can be important drivers of agri-business and be key to positive rural transformation. Yet their potential remains largely untapped. With more than two thirds of people in LDCs living in rural areas, rural development will be central to the quantum leap in the rate of progress required for LDCs to achieve the SDGs. Rural development is essential, not only to poverty eradication, employment generation and economic development, but also to sustainable urbanisation.

  • What can be done to ensure Africa’s urbanisation is sustainable, inclusive and resilient?
  • Are governments doing what is needed to create employment in rural communities as well as rapidly expanding urban centres?
  • What role is there for the private sector in ensuring sustainable and inclusive African agriculture, improving food security and establishing global production networks?
  • How can new technologies be used to help Africa’s urbanisation and rural development?
  • With women being key contributors to food production in Africa, are there special policies in place to help women farmers?

Moderator: Shada Islam, Director for Europe and Geopolitics at Friends of Europe

17.00 – 17.30 Coffee break

Africa is home to seven of the 10 fastest-growing economies, but also to over two thirds of the Least Developed Countries (LDCs), and half of the Fragile and Conflict-affected States (FCS) of the world. Poverty and conflict are intertwined in ways that reinforce each other: conflict impoverishes communities, and poor communities are more vulnerable to conflict. This vicious cycle condemns millions of Africans to a less prosperous future. While government policies and cooperation with international development partners are essential, ending fragility and building peaceful and resilient societies requires the engagement of local authorities, civil society actors, religious and cultural leaders as well as women and young people. Private enterprises also have an important role to play by creating jobs and growth, thereby enhancing incentives for peace and development.

  • What are the necessary conditions for private sector investments in fragile and conflict-related situations in Africa?
  • Despite the negative headlines, are there business opportunities which can help bring peace in Africa’s most sensitive hotspots?
  • Are there African success stories of transition to economic growth and prosperity that the rest of the continent can learn from?
  • What can Africa learn from other conflict-affected regions of the world?
  • How can governments and the private sector work together to consolidate peace?
  • What is the role of civil society actors, including women and young people, in the fight against poverty and conflict?

Moderator: Shada Islam, Director for Europe and Geopolitics at Friends of Europe


  • Olivier De Boysson

    Chief Economist for Emerging Markets at Société Générale
    In his current position, Olivier De Boysson is responsible for the analysis of developing economies and particularly for country-based risk assessments to inform the investment and credit policy of Société Générale. The group, one of the biggest bank and financial services organisation in Europe, is active in a number of African fragile and conflict-affected states, including Guinea, Cote d’Ivoire, and Mauritania. Olivier de Boysson is also the Deputy Director for Economic Studies in Société Générale’s Risk Department, responsible for macroeconomic projections and macro financial risk analysis, and lectures in country risk analysis at Sciences Po Paris.

  • Neil Gregory

    Head of Thought Leadership at the International Finance Corporation (IFC)
    Neil Gregory is a leading voice on the role of private enterprise in economic development and the financing of private investment in emerging markets. As Head of Thought Leadership at IFC, the largest global development institution focused exclusively on the private sector in developing countries, he is responsible for the provision of fresh and innovative ideas to reduce global poverty. He has extensive experience in strategy and investment operations, having previously served as IFC’s Chief Strategy Officer for Investment Operations, Chief of Strategy and Operations for the World Bank Group’s Financial and Private Sector Development Network and Advisor to the UK Executive Director of the IMF.

  • Kanayo F. Nwanze

    President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) (2009-2017) and Member of the Global Agenda Council on Food Security of the World Economic Forum
    Kanayo F. Nwanze has over 30 years’ experience in improving the livelihoods of poor rural communities, having most recently served as President of IFAD, the specialised United Nations agency dedicated to eradicating rural poverty in developing countries, where he led the reorientation of IFAD´s work to focus more on making small-scale farming a viable business. In 2016, he was awarded the Africa Food Prize for his efforts to put Africa´s smallholder farmers at the centre of the global agricultural agenda. He has previously served as Director-General of the Africa Rice Center (WARDA), a leading pan-African research organisation committed to alleviate poverty and improve food security through research, development and partnership activities.

  • Hans-Joachim Preuss

    Managing Director of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ)
    Hans-Joachim Preuß has been Managing Director and Member of the Management Board of GIZ since 2011. GIZ, the German development agency, leads on more than 450 projects in Africa in a variety of sectors, including in conflict prevention and resolution, peace and security. Hans-Joachim Preuß previously served as Secretary-General and Managing Director of Welthungerhilfe, one of the largest private aid organisations in Germany which has set itself the goal of banishing famine and poverty from the world. He has published extensively on rural development, global food supplies and fragile statehood. He is also a Member of the Management Board of the German-African Business Association and a Member of the Board of Trustees of the Aid by Trade Foundation, amongst other positions.

  • Vimal Shah

    Chairman of BIDCO Africa
    Vimal Shah is one of Kenya and East Africa’s most successful businessmen and leads Bidco Africa, the largest manufacturer of edible oils in East and Central Africa, present in over 18 countries. As Chairman, Vimal Shah is responsible for the company's growth into new markets and new products development. He has received a number of awards for his contribution to the growth of entrepreneurship in Kenya, including the East African Entrepreneur of the Year award of the All Africa Business Leaders Awards (AABLA), and CEO of the Year award of the Kenya Institute of Management. He has also been awarded the “First Class: Chief of the Order of the Burning Spear”, the highest national honour for a private citizen in Kenya, in recognition of his contribution to the national development.

Contact info

Clotilde Sipp, Programme Manager
Tel: +32 2 893 98 12

Our events include photos, audio and video recording that we might use for promotional purposes. By registering, you give your permission to use your image. Should you have any questions, please contact our Director of Communications, David O’Leary, at


Development Policy Forum:

picture1  picture3  picture4 picture5 picture6 picture7

In partnership with:


More events