The Pan African Business Forum (PABF) has called for Africa to focus more on supporting its own business entities on the continent, as opposed to foreign investment.
They also announced a resolution reached by the international business collective call for a successor to former South African President Thabo Mbeki’s peacekeeping efforts in Sudan.
These calls were made as part of a celebratory VIP dinner banquet in Johannesburg in honour of Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, the newly appointed Chairperson of the African Union (AU).
At the end of Women’s Month, the PABF hosted the event in light of the instrumental role they played in her appointment as chairperson.
Dlamini-Zuma addressed the dinner banquet via video link from Cape Town. She reminded the gathering of the vision of the Heads of State and Government about the Lagos plan of action adopted in 1980, which stated that: ‘Africa must cultivate the virtue of self-reliance… I hope the PABF will continue to support and encourage me in achieving this goal, and I look forward to working with you to drive Africa’s agenda so that our people can know a better tomorrow.’
She, however, warned that the continent should not cut itself totally from outside contribution. ‘However those contributions should only supplement our own efforts. They should not be the main stream of our development,’ she said.
As part of his speech at the dinner event – attended by African political and business leaders, media and other high-profile international guests, PABF CEO & President Ladislas Agbesi stated: ‘Countless world-class, consumer and intermediate goods and services are produced in Africa and they importantly, are often cheaper than their counterparts from outside the continent, thus offering better value for money. As for natural raw materials, African countries have the potential to supply each other much more price-competitively than supplies from outside the continent,’
He continued to note: ‘…the reluctance of Africa’s national leaders to cede any authority to supranational organizations, even in the African Union itself, because of the raw desire for power and the freedom to misuse it now and again, away from being assessed. To solve the problems of mistrust of each other’s product and service quality, as well as mistrust of the whole continent’s product, African countries should establish a system of Pan-African product and service Quality Certification, similar to EU Certification, which is accepted and respected worldwide.’
PABF claims to work towards repairing and affirming the stature of Africa, which had become tarnished by international news reports on crime, corruption, poverty and the ills that have become the stereotype to define the continent.
This unique collective of Africans living inside and outside of Africa is a private entrepreneurial initiative of various multinationals collaborating to take control of the development of the continent’s future. Their main mission is to capitalise on the current African renaissance and to enforce the power of Africa globally. The PABF is made up of over 350 international business personalities and organisations across the continent.
The PABF’s most recent coup was the key role they played in campaigning for Dlamini-Zuma’s appointment to the leadership of the AU.
Agbesi praised Dlamini-Zuma, saying that she is ‘more than just a South African; she is a distinguished and capable leader with credentials and a track record that responds to the task ahead. We believe that the environment of good governance of South Africa, the rule of law, and the moral of the South African bill of human rights will be with her as she takes up the mantle of leadership of the continent as a whole, servicing all African countries. With her, the continent will have a better understanding of corporate governance, and good corporate governance implies a good environment for business.’
Agbesis also mentioned PABF’s vision to move away from being a donor agency and to establish a position of support for Africa’s needs. ‘Apart from financial support, we also aim to contribute to the establishment of adequately informed and skilled corporate governance. Our strong relationships with governments have already enabled us to count such successes as being involved in securing stability in Libya as one of the many accomplishments we are very proud of,’ he said.