Africa’s Integration: Investing in our common future

29 November 2019 – Casa Árabe, Madrid, Spain

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08:30 – 09:00


09:00 – 09:40

Opening Session

Welcome remarks 

Fernando Valenzuela Marzo, State Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Spain

Victor Harison, Commissioner for Economic Affairs, African Union Commission (AUC) (  watch video)

Mario Pezzini, Director, OECD Development Centre and Special Advisor to the OECD Secretary-General on Development (  watch video)

Video Message

Video Message

Ángel Gurría, Secretary-General, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)

David Sassoli, President of the European Parliament (  watch video)

09:40 – 11:10

Session 1. Two billion consumers by 2050: Are African enterprises ready? 


Africa’s GDP has grown by 4.6% annually on average since 2000, the second fastest rate in the world, driven largely by domestic demand for processed goods. With the African population set to hit 2 billion by 2030, the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) raises new hopes of an integrated market pulling the continent’s industrialisation and productive transformation. But with pervasively low levels of productivity and a lack of skilled labour, most African firms remain ill-equipped to withstand the competition of global players. How can governments create the conditions for the private sector to grow its muscle, create the decent jobs and supply the quality goods the continent needs? What policies are proving effective? And what can development partners contribute?


María Teresa Fernández de la Vega, Chair, Women for Africa Foundation


Gilbert Bawara, Minister of Public Service, Labour and Administrative Reform, Togo
Sahar Nasr, Minister of Investment and International Co-operation, Egypt
Arkebe Oqubay, Senior Minister and Special Adviser to the Prime Minister, Ethiopia
Jong-Dae Park, Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to the Republic of South Africa
Félix F. Shaw, Director, International Co-operation and Development Policy, European Commission

11:10 - 11:45

Coffee break

11:45 - 13:15

Session 2. Connecting Africa with itself and with the world: where are the priority investments?


Africa’s economic growth has been helped by advances in trade, policies and regional integration, culminating in the ambitions of AfCFTA. However, the continent’s business systems remain inefficient. Micro, small and medium-sized enterprises are too often cut off from each other, preventing the circulation of technology and know-how, and unable to access markets beyond a small perimeter. Backward and forward linkages are relatively weak, regional linkages between markets are also insufficient. The average level of regional sourcing in Africa remains under 15%, compared with sectoral peaks above 80% in South East Asia. What measures can boost investments to better connect African regions with one another? What bottlenecks are impeding co-ordination amongst development partners? What innovative resource mobilisation approaches for regional infrastructure, human capital and skills can be emulated?


Susana Ruiz Rodríguez, Fiscal Justice Policy lead, Oxfam International


Cai E-Sheng, Chairman, Finance Center for South-South Co-operation (FCSSC)
Amy Jadesimi, Chief Executive Officer, Lagos Deep Offshore Logistic Base
Zephanie Niyonkuru, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Rwanda Development Board (RDB)
Íñigo de Palacio España, Global Director for Institutional Relations, Vice-President, INDRA
Tomoharu Otake, Chief Representative, France Office, Japan International Co-operation Agency (JICA) 

13:15 - 13:35

Closing remarks


Manuel Escudero, Chair of the Governing Board of the OECD Development Centre and Permanent Representative of Spain to the OECD
María Reyes Maroto, Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism, Spain



*Participants listed alphabetically in each session