Next September 23 and 24, Montreal will host at its Palais des congrès the 10th Forum Afrique Expansion (FAE). This edition will be a turning point, marking the transition to an annual frequency for this event dedicated to business opportunities between Africa and Canada.
Unlike many other markets around the world that are leaving investors jittery, Africa remains a business destination whose outlook for business opportunities remains optimistic. Experts say that the economic recovery, albeit a slow one, remains in step with the numbers put forth in numerous reports. According to the International Finance Corporation (or IFC, a subsidiary of the World Bank), Africa will be the world’s largest market for consumer goods and services by 2030.
Indeed, analysts at the global institute estimate some 100 million people will enter the ranks of the middle class, estimated today at 350 million by the African Development Bank, and the higher-income classes. Moreover, according to the IFC forecasts, African household consumption is expected to reach US$2.5 trillion in 2030, as compared to US$1.1 trillion back in 2015, an illustration of the vast possibilities open to investors, with handsome returns into the bargain.
Likewise, numerous opportunities for doing business in Canada, with high rates of return, will be proposed to African investors. Many African businesspeople had expressed a keen interest in having first-hand information regarding such opportunities; since its last edition, Forum Afrique Expansion has taken steps to satisfy these requests.
Some priority economic sectors, notably high tech, agrifood, energy and industrialization, are particularly sought after by African contractors and the major financial institutions that support Africa’s development, such as the World Bank, the African Development Bank and the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank). The programming for this 10th edition will reflect this orientation. Participants will have at their disposal a mix of panels, conferences, B2B meetings and networking occasions, in addition to the Dealroom, an environment which brings project bearers and investors interested by the African markets together to strike business agreements. Also on the agenda are the “featured countries,” to be determined based on economic indicators that reflect numerous opportunities in both the industrial and services sectors.
Finally, well-known figures and renowned experts will be invited to present and explain in detail the many existing business opportunities in major and innovative projects driving growth and development in Africa.
In short, I promise you this year yet another Forum rich in business opportunities. And I seize this particular opportunity to thank all the partners that make it possible to ensure the longevity of this business gathering— now annual, and unique in North America.