Defining the Road Ahead

The New Africa Business Development Forum is one of the most iconic fora of the Mediterranean Week of Economic Leaders and by far the longest-running one.

This edition is jointly organised by the European Institute of the Mediterranean (IEMed) and Union of African Chambers and will focus on new challenges related to the dynamism of African economies in the agribusiness, renewable energy, logistics, tourism and applied technology sectors. Successful business models and innovative development solutions will be exposed and developed to provide access to best practices for African businesses. Furthermore, the NABDF will highlight the key role of the Maghreb as an influential actor and as a crossroads between Africa, the Mediterranean and Europe.

20th November 2019


Co-organised with:


9:00 – 9:15


9:15 – 10:30

Consuls Room

Official Opening of the First Day of MedaWeek Barcelona 2019 and the New Africa Business Development Forum

The 13th edition of the MedaWeek Barcelona (Mediterranean Week of Economic Leaders) will place an imperative role on the latest regional transformations, bringing Regional and European views on the economic implications of the radical political transitions and means for further sustaining European, Mediterranean and African relations.
Anwar Zibaoui

General Coordinator, ASCAME & MedaWeek Barcelona

Joan Canadell

President, Barcelona Chamber of Commerce

Ahmed M. El Wakil

President, ASCAME

Pere Navarro

President, Consorci de la Zona Franca de Barcelona

Josep Ferré

Acting Director General, European Institute of the Mediterranean (IEMed)

Laia Bonet

Third Deputy Mayor, Barcelona City Council

Nasser Kamel

Secretary General, Union for the Mediterranean (UfM)

Abdou Mboup

Minister Delegate at the Presidency, Government of Senegal

Ali Al-said El-moselhy

Minister of Supply and Internal Trade, Government of Egypt

Pere Aragonès

Vice President & Minister of Economy and Finance, Government of Catalonia

10:30 – 11:00

Coffee Break

11:00 – 12:30

Consuls Room

Session 1: EU – Northern Africa – Sub-Saharan Africa: a triangulation approach

The EU – Northern Africa – Sub-Saharan Africa trilateral cooperation is part of the wider set on EU-Africa relations and strategic framework joining Europe and Africa. The alliance represents an economic strategy that puts the respective strengths of Europe and Africa through the full implementation of the External Investment Plan (EIP). Consequently, strengthening business cooperation in both the Maghreb and the Mediterranean region as a whole.
The triangulation approach between the EU – Northern Africa – Sub-Saharan Africa consists in identifying an adequate inclusive platform of dialogue with the objective of increasing the level of investment and involvement of the private sector and respective governments through the use of Innovative Financial Instruments, implementing effective credit guarantee schemes for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and support of business climate, among others.
  • Explore ways to promote triangular cooperation, to boost investment, attract further Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), support education and skills development for employability, as well as boost trade and improve the business climate.
  • Deliberate the key strands of actions for a stronger economic agenda for the EU and its African partners.
  • Policy Recommendations to maintain the existing programmers and mechanisms to address the continental dimension and support triangular cooperation between the EU – Northern Africa – Sub-Saharan Africa.
Alfonso González

General Director of European and Mediterranean Affairs, Government of Catalonia

Mohamed Methqal

Ambassador & General Director, Moroccan Agency of International Cooperation

Fathallah Sijilmassi

Former Secretary General, Union for the Mediterranean (UfM)

Ouahiba Behloul

General Director, Chambre Algérienne de Commerce et d'Industrie (CACI)

Jilani Benmbarek

President, JB Group

Marisol Castro Rey

Communication Officer, Andalusian Technology Corporation (CTA)

Abdou Souleye Diop

Managing Partner, Mazars Morocco

12:30 – 14:00

Consuls Room

Session 2: The Dynamism of African Economies and instruments for business development and investment in the continent

With annual growth rates sometimes exceeding 5%, most African countries have experienced sustained economic growth over the last 15 years, especially Nigeria as the leading economic power in Africa. This caused a wave of optimism about the prospects of finally seeing the region taking serious measures to tackle poverty and underdevelopment.
Nowadays, the overall growth is expected to continue but at a more modest pace. In this evolving context, it is important to pay attention to growth drivers to identify those that are likely to support its continuation. Sub-Saharan Africa remains unable to join the ranks of developing countries that base their growth on the export of competitive manufactured goods.
The improvement of the macroeconomic climate, as the decline in the number of conflicts and the improvement of political and economic governance have undoubtedly been the essential drivers of this growth. Nevertheless, levels of diversification and sophistication in the economy remain low in most African countries.
In this context, Business development, strong intra-African trade, Participation in global value chains and industrialisation are fundamental to create a sufficient number of jobs, given the rapid population growth in Africa.
  • Identifying the main challenges and instruments for business development and investment in Africa.
  • Exploring business opportunities in the new Africa continental free trade area (AfCFTA).
  • Discussing the impact of the Digital revolution on the inclusive growth and job creation across Africa.
  • Boosting Renewable Energies and Green Business Development in Africa.
Rudy Casbi

Journalist & Co-founder, WIP-La Nouvelle Afrique

Hubert Danso

Chief Executive Officer & Vice Chairman, Africa Investor

Najwa El Iraki

Founder & Chief Executive Officer, AfricaDev Consulting

Chairman, Vocal Europe

Challoub Yolande Colle

Director of Business Support, APIP - GUINEA

Bousso Lo

President, Association Setu Senegal

Henri Malosse

Member & Former President, European Economic and Social Committee (EESC)

Sanae Lahlou

Director of the African Business Unit, Mazars

14:00 – 15:00

Lunch Break & Networking

15:00 – 16:30

Consuls Room

Session 3: Digital Economy in Africa

In Africa and in the Mediterranean, digital economy can help build private-public partnerships and create a new dialogue to deal with some of the region’s most pervasive problems: from reducing poverty and improving education, to delivering healthcare and eradicating diseases, addressing sustainability challenges and from meeting the growing demand for food taking under consideration the fast-growing population to advancing inclusion in societies.
Home to 1.2 billion people and home to the world’s youngest population, the African continent is ready for a digital transformation. To become tomorrow’s innovators, entrepreneurs and leaders, the African population and governments need effective digital means to access technology and markets. Businesses need to embrace the latest digital models to connect with their customers. By 2021, internet connectivity should be doubled.
By 2030, every person, business and government in Africa should be digitally enabled. In other terms, Africa should have a digital structure, digital platforms, a digitally skilled population, access to digital financial services and should contribute to the boost of investments and digital entrepreneurship (artificial intelligence, automation). The whole potential of the African nation relies on both women and men. Governments, by driving better policy and decision-making, along with the private sector, have the key to unlocking this potential.
  • How to understand local issues and challenges for digitalisation?
  • Beyond obstacles, are new economic models emerging?
  • Industry 4.0 in Africa: how to implement digitalization of business processes and smart manufacturing?
  • Financing: which are the innovative solutions to support transformations?
  • How can a Mediterranean and international company succeed in Africa?
  • How can digital technology be a lever for development?
  • How will Artificial Intelligence affect the core sectors of Africa & the Mediterranean region?
Rudy Casbi

Journalist & Co-founder, WIP-La Nouvelle Afrique

Hicham Iraqi Houssaini

Country Manager, Microsoft Mococco

Asma Alaoui

Managing Partner, Africa Key Partners

Fethi Ferhane

Elected Member & President of the Tourism Commission, Oran Chamber of Commerce and Industry

Ahmed Baya

Chief Executive Officer, Startup Mauritania

Divaika Kiemba Dina

President, Centre Euro Africa

Africa Coordinator, Adminex Group

Jose Ramon Mohedano

Associated Counselor, AXIS Africa

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