Seminar: Investment and tourism in Africa

8th September 2014 in New York
Seminario: Inversión y turismo en África. 08/sep/2014 Instituto Cervantes Nueva York (211-215 East 49th Street. Turtle Bay area. Manhattan, Nueva York)

The Seminar on Investment and Tourism in Africa is an event organized by the Spanish Permanent Mission to the UN together with Casa África, Spain’s main public diplomacy institution dedicated to the African continent, and Real Instituto Elcano, one of the most prestigious think tanks.

After decades of low economic growth and considered until recently the forgotten region by globalization, Africa is experiencing a new awakening which gives rise to optimism. Economic growth in the past two years has been very strong, an average 5% since 2000; armed conflicts have reduced; democracy is back as a rule in the continent; and the complementarity of most of its economies with emerging economic powers (particularly as far as raw materials exports are concerned) predicts a thriving economic future.

To this favourable environment should be added increasingly mature societies with expanding middle classes, further fuelled by an impressive demographic dynamism and a construction boom. "Africa is now a growing investment destination for both advanced and emerging economies with a record $80 billion inflow expected this year" (2014), as stated by the Managing Director of the IMF, Christine Lagarde, in a keynote address some weeks ago in Maputo. More importantly, such flows now exceed foreign aid!

This outlook makes of most African countries a very attractive destination for private capital, a key factor for economic growth in the continent. Panel 1 intends, inter alia, to observe the evolution of investments in Africa, share the acquired experience in attracting foreign investment, evaluate the role of development aid in their promotion and show to investors the progress done so far to improve the legal security frame.

Tourism appears as a most interesting track for a lot of African countries striving to move forward.  The second aim of this event is to contribute to the development of such promising a sector. Panel 2 will deal with Africa’s future in this field and share entrepreneurship experiences in the hotel-leisure-vacation industry as a way to increasing welfare in countries willing to promote tourism.

Some of the issues tackled by this Seminar might be further analyzed in the High-level Thematic Debate of the General Assembly on the Promotion of the Investment in Africa and its Catalytic Role in Achieving Africa’s Development Objectives to be held on July 17 in New York.

Spain has a historic commitment with Africa, based on its geographic proximity and an increasing network of ties in all areas, including economy. Trade and investments are forming the bedrock on which the expectations of the continent are based in order to consolidate its stability, growth and development. Spain’s history of success as a tourism world power is an unmistakable example of the bright results this still untapped potential can bring to Africa. And indeed, a greater number of Spanish entrepreneurs are willing to conduct business in Africa and are present in African markets. We expect this Seminar to pave the way further for Africans to reach this future of hope and prosperity.

As a public diplomacy institution, Casa África is proud to present this event in New York as an example of the duties it fulfils according to its fundamental goal: bringing together representatives of civil society from both Africa and Spain, fostering knowledge and ties through cooperation in culture and economy. Conveniently located in Las Palmas (Canary Islands), Casa África is an excellent platform for enhancing dialogue and cooperation between Africa and Spain and a think-tank on African studies.

This seminar, that will be held the 8th September 2014 in New York, pretend to facilitate discussion and provide useful feedback from all participants, including the audience.

The panels will be chaired by the moderators who will be in charge of leading the debate and intervening where necessary to make the discussion more fluid and lively.

The panels will be guided dynamically, in Davos-style, with panelists and moderators seated in armchairs. Conversations should be led on the side of inherent opportunities rather than on the potential risks involved. Focus should on the "optimistic" side of Africa.

Moderators will be introduced by the Ambassador Permanent Representative of Spain to the UN.

The panels of this seminar will try to answer questions as:

Panel 1 – Private Sector Investments, the Key to Economic Growth

  • Which is the present state of investments in Africa?
  • What kind of tax policy favors investment?
  • What kind of state is required to attract more investment?
  • Where are the bottlenecks for development?
  • What market failures are prevalent?
  • What are the keys to promote safe investments? Examples of best practices?
  • How should investments be oriented towards a better inclusion of African industries in global value chains?
  • How can the share of manufacturing in a country’s GDP be increased to encourage productivity- enhancing structural change?
  • What should be the main role of the income resulting from efficient investments?
  • How can PPPPs be promoted among the African and Spanish private sector with the public sectors of both regions?
  • What should be the role of African and Spanish SMEs in investments for socio-economic development?

Panel 2 – Tourism, the Untapped Potential for Future Growth

  • Which is the present state of tourism industry in Africa?
  • What are the main challenges for the development of the industry at the national, regional and continental levels?
  • How can local governments and regions effectively plan for and integrate tourism into their economies to ultimately create jobs and improve livelihoods?
  • How can African States compete with other tourist-rich regions of the world?
  • What are countries doing to promote African products and destinations?
  • What choices can international organizations, regions and local governments make to lead to a sustainable growth path?
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