in conjunction with NYFA 2015
  • “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


Africa, considered by many as a major frontier market of the last decade, is increasingly attracting the attention of investors: many regimes have been shown to be stable and with increasing levels of governance and transparency, with healthy economic growth. Through this influx of FDI, partnered with ambitious infrastructure and major projects underwritten by governments and sovereign wealth funds, there has been a new injection of energy into the continent, a new sense of hope and expectation. The New York Forum AFRICA will examine the key areas of growth, and the investment opportunities that lie therein. Key to the dynamics of African development to date are that in the continent, power is expensive but the costs of its human resources are low – the opposite to the rest of the world. Is shifting this dynamic at the heart of Africa’s future?

Rather than concentrating on oil, gas and natural resources, the NYFA 2015 will focus on the energy of that comes from Africa’s human resources as well: its women and young people, and the energy provided by innovation and technology in the continent, research and development, and sectors like agriculture and natural resources.

The energy of African economies

30 African countries expect 5 – 17.5 percent growth in 2015

In its October 2014 report, the World Bank projected robust African GDP growth in the coming years, in contrast to weak global growth. This growth is attributed to improvements in political stability, an influx of investors drawn to the possibility of high returns, and increasingly peaceful, stable regimes. Across the region, there has been substantial investment in infrastructure, including in ports, electricity capacity, and transportation.

Several countries have also seen a strong recovery in the agriculture sector in 2014 and expect it to continue in 2015. The expansion of the services sector led by transport, telecommunications, financial services and tourism is also spearheading overall economic growth in a number of countries.

The energy from sector opportunities

Significant deepwater gas fields discovered off the coast of Tanzania, and discovered oil reserves in Mozambique, Kenya and Uganda have attracted international oil companies as partners, but also led to an increase in domestic benefits thanks to localisation programs and diversification of the national economies. Growing demand for electricity and falling costs for alternatives such as solar and wind mean more renewable energy projects have been commissioned in sub-Saharan Africa in 2014 than the previous 13 years put together. Investment in countries including South Africa, Kenya and Ethiopia is estimated at $5.9 billion in 2014 and may reach $7.7 billion in 2016 (compared with an average of $1 billion a year from 2006 to 2011). Meanwhile, the wealth of the African continent lies in its land, with two-thirds of Sub-Saharan Africa’s population relying on land activities such as agriculture, freshwater fishery and forestry for their livelihoods. An increasingly dry and hot climate will make Sub-Saharan Africa more prone to drought and its land less suitable for agriculture, with ever-shorter growing seasons and lower yields – and shrinking revenue.

What opportunities are provided by more efficient use of land, water, soil nutrients and increase yield without bringing about further climate change?

The energy of African innovation

The other huge natural resource in Africa is its capacity for innovation, which continues to generate new products, ideas, services and revenues that place African inventors at the forefront of emerging technology. With need as the mother of all invention, how can Africa continue to grow in areas of healthcare, energy, mobile communications and finance innovation – and how can governments and the private sector fast-track this growth?

The energy of African entrepreneurship

Africa is flush with opportunity and ideas; a consumer boom has been matched by increased inward investment and infrastructure development, and its educated and ambitious young population has responded. Africa’s entrepreneurial spirit is the envy of much of the western world, with businesses of every size and type opening up every day. Entrepreneurship is increasing in the continent alongside the booming economies and a new-found dynamism is emerging. Sub-Saharan Africa is the region with the highest number of people involved in early-stage entrepreneurial activity, with Zambia and Nigeria topping the world rankings. What steps need to be taken to ensure people starting their own businesses have the best possible chance of success?

The energy of African youth

Ambitious, self-starting, inventive, opinionated

The New York Forum AFRICA will play host to the second African Citizens’ Summit, in association with Train My Generation. Bridging the gap between young, educated Africans and the job market is a key challenge, and requires collaboration between government, education providers and the private sector. This year’s African Citizens’ Summit will focus on Job Creation and Enterprise and will ask the question: from where will the next generation of jobs in Africa come? You can read the results of the 2014 Train My Generation survey on This year, the African Citizens’ Summit will be held on the plenary stage of the Forum to reflect the importance of the continent’s youth in its economic development. These special sessions will be designed in collaboration with young people based on the results of the Train My Generation survey, which was launched by the NYFA 2014.

The energy of African consumers

Africa’s population, the fastest growing and youngest in the world, is concentrated in urban areas (with urban Africa predicted to provide 40 percent of GDP growth). This new class of consumer has a smaller family, is better educated and higher earning, and is digitally savvy. Africans are exceptionally optimistic about their economic future: 84 percent say they will be better off in two years, according to a McKinsey report. These new African consumers resemble their urban counterparts anywhere in the world: but they live in a continent of 53 countries and 2,000 dialects.

The energy of African women

Africa also leads the world in the number of women starting businesses, with almost equal numbers of male and female entrepreneurs, with women outnumbering men in Ghana, Nigeria and Zambia (and they make up the majority of small farmers). Yet barriers exist that push women traders and producers into the informal economy, where a lack of access to finance, information and networks stunt their capacity to grow their business and their contribution to the economy.


The Marketplace, traditionally the gathering point of the NYFA where meetings are booked with participants and exhibitors from private and public sector, will be extended in 2015 to feature a Village of Innovation, building on the success of our inaugural Money Talks session at NYFA 2014, where one inventor secured investment live on stage. A carefully curated selection of African start-ups, each with an invention that has the power to bring about significant change, will be invited to showcase their work to participants in the Marketplace.


555 Madison Avenue, 17th Floor, New York, NY 10022 USA
P: +1 212 794 8801 | F: +1 212 794 8677

Connect with us

Follow us on

Receive updates

Subscribe to our mailing list

privacy policy   |   conditions of use