Les Rencontres Africa
Classe Export France in collaboration with the French Government, the Government of Kenya represented by the Kenya Investment Authority, Kenya Private Sector Alliance and other stakeholders jointly organized and hosted Les Rencontres Africa, 2017 (Africa- France Business Forum), 2017 in Nairobi, Kenya on 5th – 6th October 2017 at the Intercontinental Hotel.
Following the success of the first edition in Paris last year, it was decided that the second edition should take place in Africa in 3 different countries: Ivory Coast (francophone country), Kenya (anglophone country) and Tunisia (North Africa). The first Rencontres Africa forum was held in Paris in September 2016 and attracted over 2000 participants, with delegates from 30 African Countries. The two day forum in Nairobi has attracted regional, and international delegates of which 200 African leaders from over 30 countries, 150 French officials and CEOs registered to attend. The registered kenyan delegates numbered a record 1,000 persons. The forum focused on sector specific discussions on Finance, ICT, Agriculture & Agro-Industries, Urban Development, Wholesale & Retail, Education, PPP, and Renewable Energy among others, as well as panel sessions with sector experts from Africa and France to promote dialogue and partnerships in trade and investment. “Les Rencontres Africa” is an initiative of the 2013 Elysee Summit, following recommendations of H. Védrine and L. Zinzou co-author of the report “Africa France: a partnership for the future.
The conference official opening ceremony was graced the French Ambassador to Kenya H.E Antoine Sivan, Ms. Carole Kariuki – CEO KEPSA, Ms. Yvonne Mburu – CEO MedinAfrica and French President’s Emmanuel Macron Adviser for Africa and Mr. Adan Mohamed, EGH Cabinet Secretary Ministry of Industry, Trade and Cooperatives of Kenya. While speaking during the opening ceremony, Ms. Kariuki welcomed the delegates and thanked the event organizers as well as the French government for choosing Kenya as a host. She also noted that the Business France opened its office in Nairobi in 2013 to assist French firms interested in investing in Kenya and neighboring East African nations. Since 2012, the number of French firms established in Kenya has more than doubled to over 70 and together, these firms have created employment to more than 10,000 Kenyans of which is a vote of confidence in the Kenyan market and more new entrants are expected as a result of this conference, creating even more jobs.
While focusing on the regional level, Ms. Kariuki noted that Kenya controls close to 40 per cent of the East African Community (EAC) GDP. Coupled with its high level of economic openness, a dynamic private sector, and a higher quality of education, the foreign investors locate Kenya to stand at an advantageous position to fully benefit from the established EAC common market protocol. Today the EAC is the fastest growing economic block in Africa with a lot of untapped natural resources and high urbanization offering French firms strategic location and business friendly environment to host their regional headquarters upon entry into the region.
There was a unified call from all speakers during the official opening ceremony welcoming the French investors and their Kenyan counterparts to explore trade and investment opportunities through the business to business meetings that will take place during the conference