The World Economic Forum on Africa will take place for the first time in Abuja, Nigeria, under the theme Forging Inclusive Growth, Creating Jobs. More than 900 leaders from business, government, civil society and academia will participate in the meeting on 7-9 May.

The meeting convenes against a backdrop of significant economic growth, progress in reducing poverty in most parts of sub-Saharan Africa, but also persistent inequality. This year’s programme is built on three pillars: Accelerating Society’s Transformation; Deepening Investment Partnerships; and Redesigning Growth Models.

In addition to President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan of Nigeria and representatives from his government, other leaders that have confirmed their participation are: Mohamed Larbi Ould Khelifa, President, People’s National Assembly, Algeria; Thomas Yayi Boni, President of Benin; Li Keqiang, Premier of the People’s Republic of China; Daniel Kablan Duncan, Prime Minister of Côte d’Ivoire; John Dramani Mahama, President of Ghana; Uhuru Kenyatta, President of Kenya; Kolo Christophe Laurent Roger, Prime Minister of Madagascar; Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda; Macky Sall, President of Senegal; Jakaya M. Kikwete, President of Tanzania; and Faure Gnassingbé, President of Togo.

“Africa’s continued progress depends fundamentally on the ability of its leaders to take the bold decisions necessary to transform the region’s economy and society. By bringing together leaders from politics, business and civil society, we hope the meeting will offer an environment where such decisions can be catalysed, and where commitment and creativity can be drawn on to build a future fit for all Africans,” said Elsie Kanza, Director, Head of Africa, World Economic Forum.

In addition to the two-day official programme, a number of meetings will be held in parallel in Abuja during the course of the week. Shape Africa, the annual meeting of Africa’s Global Shapers community, will be held on 5-6 May, bringing together young, engaged people from across Africa to share ideas on how they can improve life in their home cities and countries. The Grow Africa Investment Forum on 7 May – in which the participation of a number of African heads of state is expected – aims to build on recent successes in unlocking over $7 billion of investment for African smallholder farmers.

The Co-Chairs of the meeting are: Dominic Barton, Global Managing Director, McKinsey & Company, USA; Jean-François van Boxmeer, Chairman of the Executive Board and Chief Executive Officer, HEINEKEN, Netherlands; Aliko Dangote, President and Chief Executive Officer, Dangote Group, Nigeria; Bineta Diop, Special Envoy for Women, Peace and Security, African Union, and President, Femmes Africa Solidarité, Switzerland; Jabu A. Mabuza, Chairman, Telkom Group, South Africa; Sunil Bharti Mittal, Founder and Chairman, Bharti Enterprises, India; and John Rice, Vice-Chairman, GE, Hong Kong SAR.

Author: Oliver Cann is Associate Director, Public Engagement Group, at the World Economic Forum.

Image: Bineta Diop is one of the Co-Chairs of the World Economic Forum on Africa.