Burkina Faso opens Conference on “Governance, Democracy and Business”

  • January 18, 2018

Source: African Media Agency (AMA)

Burkina Faso hosted the first Pan-African meeting designed to strength democratic governance and business climate in Africa, held on January 16 -17 under the theme “Governance, Democracy and Business”.

 The World Movement for Democracy, the Center for International Private Enterprise and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Africa Business Center (ABC) have jointly launched, in partnership with the Burkina Faso Government, an initiative aimed at engaging the private sector in democratic governance throughout Africa by initiating a dialogue between business, civil society and policy makers.

During the inaugural session, the President of Burkina Faso, His Excellency Roch Marc Christian Kaboré, questioned the audience about the key issues of this conference: “How to create a dynamic interaction between public authorities, the private sector, civil society and social partners, which are different but complementary players, in order to establish good governance as the basis of sustainable economic and social development, for the benefit of all? How can companies be equipped so that they may, in turn, be able to support democracy and governance? “

The Burkinabe Head of State then expressed his wish to “commend the initiators’ perspicacity and merit in designing this meeting. Like them, we believe that a clear and harmonious synergy between these stakeholders will contribute to increasing the opportunities for citizen participation in the management of the public space, and expand the ranges of economic freedom.”

Promoting Africa’s business climate with democratic institutions

Political and business leaders as well as civil society representatives were invited in Ouagadougou for two days to discuss the critical issues. This meeting calls on businesses to contribute to good economic governance in their respective countries by helping to strengthen democratic institutions, and encourage consultative collaboration to develop business opportunities in Africa. It also proposes the creation of new avenues of participation and economic freedoms, in order to improve existing market economies and thus shape sustainable democratic development for a prosperous and free society.

Heads of State from Mali and Niger attended the conference

Leading figures from the world of politics, business and civil society took part in the discussions to boost this initiative. Burkina Faso had the honor to receive the Presidents of Mali and Niger, His Excellency Ibrahim Boubacar KEITA and His Excellency Mahamadou ISSOUFOU.

Among the speakers were: H.E. Souleymane DIARRASSOUBA, Minister of Commerce, Handicrafts and SME Promotion, Ivory Coast; Rt. Hon. Prof. Aaron Mike OQUAYE, Chairman of Ghana’s Parliament; Dr. Isaias Barreto Olimpio DA ROSA, Commissioner, Telecommunication and Information Technology, ECOWAS Commission; and H.E. Andrew YOUNG, US Ambassador to Burkina Faso.

In addition, all government representatives from Burkina Faso as well as the entire diplomatic community based in Ouagadougou, including among others the US, French and Moroccan ambassadors, attended this new initiative.

Burkina Faso, a partner of choice in Africa

Burkina Faso was selected as host country for its progress in good economic governance and the advancement of the democratic process. Thus, experts have observed positive trends in economic freedom and considerable achievements in developing a regulatory framework for public-private partnerships as well as in the reforms related to the construction, transport and energy sectors. However, it is mainly for his leadership and support for democratic development in the country and across Africa that the Government of Burkina Faso has distinguished itself.

Objectives of the Ouagadougou Meeting

* Present successful partnerships between businesses, governments and civil society regarding effective public and economic policies in Africa;

* Discuss the importance of the democratic institutions’ capabilities to create an enabling environment for businesses to achieve stable and long-term growth;

* Highlight democratic progress and business opportunities in Burkina Faso;

* Establish a lasting commitment among the business community, governments and civil society in working together for progressive social and economic development.

Who attended the Conference?

150 African leaders from all sectors took part in this conference including:

* Business and political leaders as well as representatives from professional associations and civil society coming from West African states that have all been democratic and active in promoting good governance such as Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, Nigeria and Senegal.

* Board of Directors of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Africa Business Center and members from various regional intergovernmental organizations, such as ECOWAS as well as foreign diplomatic representations.

The meeting concluded with the official launch of the Ouagadougou Declaration, a public declaration of intent, signed and read by His Excellency President Roch Marc Christian Kaboré, who called on the business community, governments and civil society to find solutions together to the challenges facing governance.

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