Ethiopia to host 22nd World Economic Forum on Africa

14:20, May 11, 2011      

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The World Economic Forum announced that the 22nd World Economic Forum on Africa will take place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in 2012. "We are so delighted to host the 22nd World Economic Forum on Africa in Addis Ababa, which is the diplomatic capital of Africa," Hailemariam Desalegn, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia, said in a press conference.

"We are so happy that we will be able to receive all the forum members, participants and the media. Our government is committed to making this event a success."

Ethiopia is one of the fastest-growing economies in the world and is Africa's second most populous country, possessing a "deep culture and history," noted Robert Greenhill, Managing Director and Chief Business Officer of the World Economic Forum.

"We know that many of our members from Africa and around the world are extremely interested in the opportunity to get a view of what is going on in that exciting country. We are very confident that the Addis Ababa meeting will be very successful."

Asked about Ethiopia's capacity to host a major international meeting, Deputy Prime Minister Desalegn pointed out that his country is "an island of stability" in the horn of Africa and that the African Union is headquartered in the capital.

"We have conducted many international conferences in Addis Ababa and we will do our best to achieve success," Desalegn said.

Next year's World Economic Forum on Africa would be an opportunity to deepen the engagement of the countries of northern Africa with the rest of the continent, he said.

When pressed on multiple stakeholder participation and human rights issues, the deputy prime minister noted that the Ethiopian government respects the independence of the World Economic Forum. Greenhill stressed that the World Economic Forum is a neutral platform that fosters open and constructive discussion among its Members, constituents and participants. "We will take the same approach in Addis Ababa."

The tentative dates for the 22nd World Economic Forum on Africa are May 9 to May 11 in 2012.

By Richard Elliott, WEF

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