Uche Usim, Abuja 

African Vice Presidents, technocrats, global business leaders and over 300 delegates are to participate in the maiden edition of African Economic Congress (AEC) slated for November 4-6 in Abuja. 

The Chief Executive Officer of the Congress, Mrs Nancy Nnaji who made the disclosure at a media briefing said the event creates a solid platform for top decision-making leaders within Africa to brainstorm on ways of using home-grown solutions to tackle peculiar developmental challenges of the continent.

Nnaji reckons that only Africans can solve the problems of Africa, adding that the congress provides the atmosphere to deepen the conversation and create implementable and sustainable solutions needed to take the continent to the next level.

The congress, she added, will stimulate policy actions to address challenges in key areas like trade and investment, agriculture, economic policy, climate change and energy.

She noted that although Africa is seen as the second largest growing economy in the world, the continent has perennially battled several, “it is time that our leaders come together, push African development to be owned and driven by the African people in the pursuit of pan Africanism”.

Describing AEC as an annual event, Nnaji said the maiden edition has been themed: “Building the Africa We Want” as it creates a new opportunity for like minds to shape a new framework for Africa’s cooperation and development.

She added: “The Congress will focus on the strategic ramifications of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and its future impact on global cooperation and the African industrial revolution.”

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“During the sessions, participants will also engage in an in-depth dialogue with a number of international financial institutions, economic stakeholders, among others in order to review the development and adoption of policies and mechanisms for the engagement and effective participation of people.

“This is about Africa and no one else can solve our problems but us. This is about using Africans to address Africa’s challenges. There are lots of issues to tackle. We need to have a platform to have this conversation and that is what AEC is providing”, she said.

In his remarks, a member of the AEC board and former deputy governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Dr Obadiah Mailafia said Africans do no longer have the option of working in silos but as a team in the overall interest of the continent.

“This is the time to come together. We can’t wait anymore. Africans must work as a team to liberate the continent economically and not wait for anyone else from another continent to do so.

“Africans should stop chasing shadows and face the reality as the promise and hope lies with the Africans despite numerous challenges.

“We’ve had several meetings and programmes for our conversation but AEC is for us by us,” he said.