The 2021 Africa Singapore Business Forum (ASBF) is scheduled to take place virtually from August 23-27 to bring together Singaporean companies doing business in Africa to share their vison on how to accelerate growth on the continent.
The event, themed: ‘Leapfrogging the World: Innovation and Sustainability in Africa’ which will take place in Singapore will provide a platform to encourage and recognise bilateral agreements and projects, raise awareness of Africa’s growth opportunities, and promote Singapore as a hub for Asia-Africa trade and investment.
Key speakers such as Singapore’s Senior Minister, Tharman Shanmugaratnam, and President of AfDB Akinwumi Adesina, will speak at the opening of the forum. The forum will also have three panel discussions.
The first panel is on urban development and it will look at how Africa will be urbanising in the next decade. It will explore the future of urbanisation in key African markets and the direction urbanisation is heading towards on the continent; and spotlight key developments in smart city implementation and sustainable urban solutions in Africa.
The panel will further discuss how green financing is gaining grounds in Africa and where it has shown results in driving sustainable outcomes, and explore key infrastructure projects in Africa that have increased focus on sustainability and smart city.
The second panel, which is under the theme ‘Manufacturing in Africa: Deepening Value-capture in the Continent’, will also explore how the pandemic is shifting global supply chains and encouraging near-sourcing in Africa, and discuss the trend of onshoring baseline manufacturing activities and how will that impact industries across Africa.
It will further spotlight the implementation of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area and how it will shift the modality of traditional FDIs in manufacturing, and understand how manufacturers and technology providers can leverage these trends and enable the development of a more advanced manufacturing base on the continent.
Then, the third panel themed ‘Digital Africa: The Next Tech Frontier’ also seeks to explore new trends for various tech verticals in Africa such as mobile wallets, e-commerce, fintech, agri-tech, logistics and mobility, offgrid-energy and health technology.
It will address how these new tech innovations and solutions are empowering the continent; enhance understanding of how the financial sector, in particular, is rapidly adopting fintech solutions that empowers financial institutions and individuals across Africa (e.g. micro-loans); and discuss how to encourage collaboration between Africa and Asia’s tech ecosystems and to play a key role in addressing key challenges on both continents.
Speaking at the virtual launch of the event, Jean Ng, Regional Director, West & Central Africa
Enterprise Singapore, the government agency championing enterprise development, said the forum will present a great opportunity for the continent to learn from innovative measures Singapore has taken to revive its economy from the pandemic.
According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), from 2015 to 2019 Singapore’s investments into Africa rose from US$17 billion to US$20 billion.