Enterprise Singapore (EnterpriseSG), the government agency championing enterprise development in Singapore, has announced dates for the 7th edition of the Africa Singapore Business Forum (ASBF) to be held in Singapore from 29 – 31 August 2023 with the theme “Driving Africa’s Growth through Digitalisation, Manufacturing and Sustainability”.
Among the dignitary speakers will be Dr. James Mwangi, Group Managing Director and CEO of Equity Group Holdings who will be among the business and government leaders for the 7th Africa Singapore Business Forum.
The theme is in line with the opportunities arising from Africa’s digital boom, sustainability development and the boost in manufacturing brought about by the African Continental Free Trade Area agreement. Participants can expect to hear from over 20 speakers at the forum to address a range of topics including Africa’s economic landscape and insights into Singapore’s competitive advantages as a gateway to Asia. There will also be discussions on opportunities for strategic collaboration between both regions.
This year’s event will feature insights from Wamkele Mene (Secretary General of the African Continental Free Trade Area Secretariat) as well as African business leaders such as Samaila Zubairu (President and CEO of Africa Finance Corporation), Dr. James Mwangi (Group Managing Director and CEO of Equity Group Holdings), Iyinoluwa Aboyeji (Founder of Future Africa), Kuseni Dlamini (Chairman, Massmart & Aspen Pharmacare), Karim S. Anjarwalla (Senior Partner, ALN Kenya), and Sophia Alj (Co-Founder, Chari). Gan Kim Yong, Minister for Trade and Industry of Singapore and Alvin Tan, Minister of State for Trade and Industry and Community, Culture and Youth of Singapore will also be speaking at the forum, along with other distinguished speakers and panellists.
Participants will hear from expert panels on consumer trade and manufacturing; digitalisation and tech; as well as the green economy. They will also get to network with potential partners through business matching sessions. Please refer to Annex for the confirmed list of speakers.
Mr Rahul Ghosh, Director for Middle East and Africa, Enterprise Singapore, said, “Africa is a market that no company can or should ignore. The African Continental Free Trade Area has created the largest free trade area in the world with a combined GDP value of USD$3 trillion. Singapore companies are drawn by its potential and are eager to explore new opportunities for collaboration in areas such as manufacturing and digital solutions. Singapore companies can also share knowledge and innovative solutions with Africa, contributing to the continent’s development and creating mutually beneficial partnerships. We also welcome African companies to leverage our established business ecosystem and connectivity to set up their regional base in Singapore and expand into Asia.”
Trade between the African continent and Singapore reached US$14.38 billion in 2022, growing at a compound average growth rate (CAGR) of +14.7% between 2018 and 2022, while Singapore’s foreign direct investments into the continent reached an estimated US$21 billion as at end 2020.
Building on these strong economic ties, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong recently completed a six-day visit to South Africa and Kenya in May this year. During the visit, agreements were signed with South Africa to expand cooperation in the areas of information and communications technology (ICT) and skills development, while agreements were signed with Kenya in the areas of ICT and sustainability.
To facilitate partnerships between African and Singapore businesses, EnterpriseSG has three Overseas Centres in Africa – Johannesburg in South Africa; Accra in Ghana; and Nairobi in Kenya. Through engagement with both government authorities and private sector players in Africa, EnterpriseSG aims to generate a pipeline of trade and investment opportunities by building business networks and connecting African companies with relevant Singapore partners.
First held in 2010, the ASBF is a biennial platform, organised by EnterpriseSG, for African and Singapore companies and government representatives to network and explore growth opportunities. ASBF 2023 will mark a return to an in-person format after being held virtually in 2021 due to the pandemic. To date, the forum has brought together over 5,000 business and government leaders from 30 countries.