Denis Sassou Nguesso,

The Congolese capital of Brazzaville hosted the Build Africa Forum from February 6 to 7th, 2014. The opening ceremony took place under the patronage of the President of the Republic, Denis Sassou Nguesso, in a hall of the city’s exposition center where the former Senegalese president Abdoulaye Wade and other officials were also in attendance. Coordinated by Jean-Jacques Bouya, Minister of Land Use and Minister of the General Delegation for Major Works, this first-of-its-kind forum for business and investment in infrastructure is a platform for debate and reflection that was organized in partnership with the Africa50 Fund, an investment and business platform started by the African Development Bank and the World Bank.

The forum’s objective is to create a space for interaction between the worldwide participants who are shaping development in Africa, a continent whose lack of infrastructure seriously hinders its development and global competitiveness. More than six hundred political decision-makers, sponsors, representatives of non-governmental organizations, and other experts from around the globe made the trip to Brazzaville to participate in this forum that attracted more than a thousand participants. The forum’s activities included debates, committee meetings, participatory workshops, and talks given by experts, all aiming to encourage constructive exchange.

Constructing roads in the The Republic of the Cong

In his opening speech, the Congolese President Denis Sassou Nguesso praised the forum’s initiative. Moreover, he decided that from now on, the forum will take place every two years in Brazzaville. He also spoke highly of his government, which has begun many works of infrastructure construction. When speaking of NEPAD (New Partnership for Africa’s Development) he paid homage to the former Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade, who was one of the driving forces behind the program, and behind the program’s major projects such as the planned road-and-rail bridge between Brazzaville and Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo, two of the world’s most closely linked capital cities.

Recognizing that building infrastructure is expensive in Africa, he called for action on the part of investors and entrepreneurs to support the state’s efforts.

Is it likely that the initiatives of African leaders like Denis Sassou Nguesso will change international approaches towards becoming involved in African development projects?

Credits: Images and data linked to sources.

Original article, originally published in French, here.