The Cameroonian economist and Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) will be the keynote guest of the conference luncheon whose theme is “The African Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA): A promising integration in terms of trade and investment.”
Ms. Songwe had a rich and illustrious tenure at the World Bank, as documented in her biography, and brings to her new role at the ECA proven experience and expertise as a strategic advisor on development issues, coupled with a long-standing track record of delivering concrete development results and a strategic vision for the continent that is clear, focused and resolute.
Previously, she had been the World Bank’s Country Director for Cape Verde, the Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Mauritania and Senegal. She was also Adviser to the Managing Director of the World Bank for Africa, Europe and Central and South Asia.
Vera Songwe holds a PhD in mathematical economics from the Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE) of the Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium (UCL); a Master of Arts in law and economics; and a degree in advanced studies in economics and political science from UCL. She also holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics and political science from the University of Michigan and has published widely on development and economics.
Thus, Forum Afrique Expansion this year welcomes an accomplished academic and leading analyst to discuss a topic she knows inside out. During a recent speaking engagement on the margins of the opening of the extraordinary summit of the Heads of State of the African Union held in Niger, Vera Songwe was asked to expound on various aspects of the CFTA, and said: “Research conducted by the Economic Commission for Africa shows that when African countries trade among themselves, innovation and added value are the result.” This dovetails perfectly with the theme of this 9th edition of Forum Afrique Expansion: “Innovation as a major lever of Africa’s economic development.”