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  • “If you are doing something that you really love, it is not work.”- Barclay Paul Okari
  • “What keeps you going [as an entrepreneur] is the need to see your idea come to fruition.”- Kwame Abrokwa
  • “African youth - there will not be the expected growth without your dreams. You need to create your job. In the DNA of Africans, the entrepreneurship gene is there.”- Karl Miville de Chene
  • “Let’s do everything to make sure youth are key stakeholders and are included.”- Michaëlle Jean
  • “Europe needs to do more in Africa so that African students can return to help their countries of origin.”- José Manuel Barroso
  • “The country cannot develop without you. Each of you has the opportunity to reach and accomplish your dreams. The continent of Africa is the continent of the future.”- H.E. Ali Bongo Ondimba
  • “Africa’s strong economic growth (5 percent) is thanks to its youth, which will be the main source of production and innovation in the coming years.”- Lionel Zinsou
  • “Talent does not exist everywhere. The only difference between countries is access. Without having access, nothing will happen.”- Garry Kasparov
  • “African women have arrived.”- Isabel dos Santos
  • “There’s a preconceived idea on Africa which is totally obsolete. Africa is now the future.”- Laurent Fabius
  • “Ambition is a key factor in transformation. The will to transform a country has to be accompanied by action”- Hafid Elalami
  • “All the research shows that investing in women is a good investment”- Cherie Blair
  • “The 21st century is the century of Africa.”- Vincente Fox
  • “This Forum is a perfect example of Gabon's engagement as a future-thinking country, searching for innovative solutions to the challenges facing Africa in its economic growth.”- Alassane Ouattara
  • “Africa is now open to all investors. Its leaders are willing to preserve the continent’s resources and willing to engage in a win-win partnership.”- Macky Sall
  • “Together, we want to encourage young women to venture into new frontiers, and learn that they can achieve anything.”- Sylvia Bongo Ondimba
  • “Technology is spurring innovation, and the so-called "demographic dividend" has brought change.”- Nouriel Roubini
  • “We Africans must do business with each other.”- President F.W. de Klerk
  • “We need to have a competitive economy and proper legal environment to create enterprise, which in turn creates jobs.”- Jean-Louis Billon
  • “We need peace for security but we also need justice and accountability.”- Fatou Bensouda
  • “Given technology in tough environments, people will do more with that technology than its engineers could have ever imagined.”- Jared Cohen
  • “You look at Africa the biggest impediment is our not being able to work together. It’s very simple.”- Kola Karim
  • “If you get the politics and the policies right, the economics usually follow.”- Lord Mandelson
  • “The G.D.P. of african countries has been rising swiftly, but we must take into account issues like access to water supply, education, healthcare, infrastructure and employment.”- Olusegun Obasanjo

PRESS RELEASE

Report on the first day

LIBREVILLE, Saturday 9 June 2012 – The first New York Forum AFRICA was held yesterday, Friday, 8 June 2012 in Libreville, the Gabonese capital.

At the initiative of Richard Attias & Associates, under the aegis of President Ali Bongo Ondimba, and in partnership with the government of Gabon, more than 600 international opinion leaders from business, economics, and politics met yesterday to attend the official launch of the first New York Forum AFRICA which ends on Sunday 10 June.

Opening address by President Ali Bongo Ondimba and Richard Attias

President Ali Bongo Ondimba and Richard Attias opened the first New York Forum AFRICA, by calling on the international economic community and all African stakeholders and decision-makers to increase participation in Africa’s current growth and to discover the potential of a continent that has a wealth of talent and opportunity. The opening session was attended by Thomas Yayi Boni, President of Benin and the current chairman of the African Union, Jean Ping, President of the African Union Commission, the Prime Minister of Gabon, Raymond Ndong Sima, and also Muhammad Yunus, 2006 Nobel Peace Prize laureate.

Ali Bongo Ondimba, President of Gabon, the host country of this first meeting, and the President of Benin and the African Union, Yayi Boni, began by sharing their vision of the challenges and potential of their continent from the perspective of their respective personal experiences. Notably, the Gabonese President committed the African continent to succeed in its evolution. “We don’t have a choice”, he noted. Conscious of the numerous issues which Africa is facing, he furthermore outlined the continent’s many recent successes in terms of development while summarising the country’s priorities: human capital, infrastructures, the business sector, and access to international markets. Finally, Ali Bongo Ondimba undertook to ensure that the decisions taken within the context of the Forum are followed up by very concrete applications. The President of Benin, Yayi Boni, called for “getting rid of charity to Africa”. He also confirmed his wish for military intervention to combat the rebellion in the north of Mali.

Following these speeches, the former US ambassador to the United Nations, Andrew Young, discussed with Sade Baderinwa of WABC, with President Ali Bongo Ondimba, about the way in which to understand business in Africa. He also expressed his hope that Africa would continue its onward march. Ambassador Andrew Young notably observed: “if you want to do business in Africa, learn how the continent works!” The President of Gabon replied: “We haven’t been conscious enough of the need to improve our image and how Africa is seen across the world”.

First speech of Muhammad Yunus in Africa

Muhammad Yunus also gave a special address. In particular, he expressed the emotion and joy of his first ever visit to Africa. The 2006 Nobel Peace Prize winner also shared his personal experience of the launch of micro-credit with 8.5 million current borrowers, 97% of whom are women.

“The flowering of Africa: myth or reality?”

The participants of New York Forum AFRICA then attended the first plenary session which aimed to shed light on the African continent’s economic growth. Led by William Wallis, Africa editor of the Financial Times, a debate focusing on the different strategies to be taken in order to maintain and develop the growth of the African continent, thus gathered together economic stakeholders and decision-makers from across the world, such as Abdelslam Ahizoune (Morocco), president and CEO of Maroc Telecom, Colin Coleman (South Africa), Chief Executive Officer of Goldman Sachs, Shanta Devaranja (USA), the World Bank’s chief economist in the Africa region, Ariane de Rothschild (France) from Edmond de Rothschild Holding, and Amin Tazzi-Riffi (Switzerland), an associate with McKinsey & Company.

The second plenary session focused on Gabon’s economic model and the new approach taken by Gabonese government in partnership with the Prime Minister of Gabon, Raymond Ndong Sima, the minister for the Promotion of Investments, Public Works, Transport, Housing, and Tourism in Gabon, Magloire Ngambia, of the Chief Executive Officer of ANGT, Henri Ohayon, of the president and CEO of BGFI Banque, Henri-Claude Oyima, and the Minister for the Budget, Public Accounts, and the Civil Service of Gabon, Christiane Rose Ossoucah Raponda.

An evening in honour of Africa’s talents, with Salif Keita and Angélique Kidjo

The first day of New York Forum AFRICA ended with emphasising African music with a dinner accompanied by the voices and musicians of two of the biggest African artists of today, Salif Keita from Mali, whose latest album, La Différence, won the Victoire de la Musique 2010 of the Album de Musique du Monde de l’Année (the World Music Album of the Year), and Angélique Kidjo from Benin, winner of a Grammy Award and praised by Time Magazine as the “Greatest African diva”.

For further information on New York Forum AFRICA
Please consult: http://www.ny-forum-africa.com

Contact in the USA:
Josh Harris, Richard Attias & Associés Josh.harris@richardattiasassociates.com +1-212-794-8802

Contact in AMEA:
Romain Grandjean Romain.grandjean@richardattiasassociates.com

About New York Forum
The New York Forum® was established with the conviction that business has arrived at a crossroads. It is crucial to send a strong optimistic message about the world economy’s future, to work towards redefining corporate governance, to create long-term value, and to re-invent business models through uniting all economic stakeholders. Our goal focuses on consolidating the link between economic growth and job creation, on the importance of cities as key drivers of dynamism and innovation, on the challenges that are business leaders have to meet within a climate of volatility and uncertainty, and on the special opportunities created by the growth of emerging economies. http://www.ny-forum.com

About Richard Attias & Associates
Richard Attias & Associates is a strategic communications firm that provides private consultancy, idea initiatives, and live experiences. Our mission is to help leaders, corporations, and nations build their global influence, catalyse innovation, and lead the global exchange of ideas. Thanks to our strategic and operational expertise, we mould unforgettable experiences: interactive platforms, living laboratories of human capital, and cultural and historic exchanges that contribute to fostering a positive change for the international community. http://www.richardattiasassociates.com

SOURCE Richard Attias & Associates

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