Robert Rukaari Mwesigwa

The Africa Strategic Leadership Centre (ASLC) on Tuesday organised a media launch for the inaugural Africa Now Conference 2019, slated for March 12-14 at Speke Resort and Conference Centre Munyonyo in Kampala.

Addressing journalists at Kabira Country Club, Robert Rukaari Mwesigwa, the board chairman of ASLC, said the high- Level meeting would be attended by Heads of State, foreign investors, CEOs of African and multinational companies, youth leaders and prominent civil society organization representatives who will retreat to Kampala over two and half days of intense discussions, conversations and dialogue.

Mwesigwa said the conference would be held under the theme, “Towards a secure, integrated and growing Africa”.

According to Mwesigwa, the conference to attract more than 1000 delegates will be co- chaired by President Yoweri Museveni and other African Heads of State together with key business leaders on the continent.

He said the conference would deliberate and agree to a set of actions to address key bottlenecks which impede Africa’s economic and socio-growth.

He said the conference seeks to build on effective youth-business alliances, which are critical for growing economies, generating opportunities to address youth employment, building and sustaining innovation and knowledge-based economies and building the future of Africa, now.

“The main objective of the Africa Now Conference is to contribute effectively to the broader conversation around economic transformation, investment and trade growth as well as employment in Africa,” he said adding that delegates at the conference will address investment opportunities available within industry, agriculture, tourism and the digital economy.

In regards to emerging sectors like intra-African regional trade, Mwesigwa noted that African states are trading amongst themselves at only half their potential, and the growing local demand is met by imports from outside the continent rather than by local production. Can we do more to reverse such trends?

ASCL board member Betty Bigombe while addressing the press said Africa must join in an action-oriented effort to consolidate strategies and solve the problems that affect the African continent, saying that it was important for decision makers and the private sector to work together to fast track development reforms and strengthen cooperation to accelerate Africa’s growth.

Mwesigwa said Africa must Africa must adapt to global growth trends such as harnessing the benefits of technological disruption as well as tracking development standards which reflect the circumstances of a changing and progressive society. “The Africa Now Conference will thus inform action from decision makers to broaden partnerships and collaboration for African development, and to translate them into beneficial outcomes,” he said.

Mwesigwa said policymakers and other stakeholders can bolster what Africa has already achieved, and accelerate the continent as a leading global player in advancing the SDGs in line with the AU’s Agenda 2063.

The conference’s partners include MTN Uganda, Government of Uganda, the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Other partners include; NBS and Makerere University. Further, this inaugural event is expected to attract over 1,000 high level participants who will participate in key conference sessions such as the Africa Now Business Forum, the media and CEOs Roundtable among others.