South Africa: Durban gears for World Economic Forum Africa

Cape Town, South Africa (PANA) – President Jacob Zuma will lead a high-profile government delegation to the World Economic Forum Africa (WEFA) which kicks off in Durban on Wednesday.

The event, which is being held under the theme: “Achieving inclusive growth: responsive and responsible leadership,” is expected to focus on education‚ skills and employment, entrepreneurship, energy, infrastructure and development finance.

WEFA will also host fringe events‚ including the launch of Oxfam’s “A human economy approach to inclusive growth in Africa” report which addresses the continent’s inequality crisis and dire poverty levels.

The meeting is expected to attract 1,000 participants, including heads of State and government from around the world.

“South Africa is honoured to host this illustrious gathering of global leaders on behalf of the African continent and we look forward to sharing our insights and homegrown successes with the rest of the continent and the world,” Zuma said in a statement.

The President said he was pleased that WEF in Africa 2017 would focus specifically on issues that included education, skills and employment, entrepreneurship, energy, infrastructure and development finance, combating, adapting to and building resilience against climate change, and science, technology and innovation.

Zuma said the meeting was coming to South Africa at the right time. “As a developing constitutional democracy that is defined by triple challenge of inequality, poverty and employment, South Africa believes that radical economic transformation is imperative to accelerating inclusive growth and eradicate these long-standing challenges,” he added.

international charity agency Oxfam said on Tuesday ahead of the WEFA that African leaders must build a new more "human economy" to tackle inequality and poverty.

According to Oxfam, new data on top incomes from the Brookings Institute has revealed that levels of inequality in many African countries are far higher than previously thought.

Seven of the 20 most unequal countries in the world are African: Swaziland is the world’s most unequal, now closely followed by Nigeria. In South Africa, three billionaires own the same wealth as the poorest half of the population – around 28 million people.

The agency noted that decades of record GDP growth have benefited a wealthy elite but left millions of ordinary Africans behind. "As a consequence, poverty has declined more slowly in Africa than any other region, and pessimistic growth forecasts predict that a further 250 to 350 million people could be living in extreme poverty within the next 15 years," it said.

The human cost is felt the most by women, young people and children. In middle-income Nigeria over 10 million children do not go to school, and one in ten do not reach their fifth birthday.
-0- PANA CU/MA 2May2017

02 may 2017 11:26:58

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