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Doing business in Southern Africa

Johannesburg:  All eyes are on Africa and the Festival of Africa's inaugural Investor Summit at Melrose Arch sets the platform to bring continental trade and investment to the fore.

n keeping with the trade and investment theme of the Festival of Africa and in order to provide participating African countries with exposure to potential investors from around the world during the World Cup, the Festival of Africa will stage the only valuable economic, trade and investment gathering during the World Cup.

Themed "Doing Business in Southern Africa," the Festival of Africa takes place at the Melrose Arch precinct until 11 July. It is the brainchild of the Regional Tourism Organisation of Southern Africa (RETOSA), in association with Adele Lucas Promotions. RETOSA is the tourism marketing arm of the 14 countries making up the SADC region.

"The Festival will help change perceptions of Africa, conveying a positive image about our diverse people, cultures and unrivalled landscapes and wildlife," says Kwakye Donkor, Marketing and Communications Director, RETOSA. The Festival is also endorsed by the African Union and NEPAD, who see it as an important 2010 Legacy Project.

Toby Chance, Director of Adele Lucas Promotions, says: "The Festival of Africa is Africa's signature event during the World Cup and is a celebration of history, culture, tourism and investment opportunities. Trade and investment are critically important to South Africa and Southern Africa's development. These 2 facets automatically change the face of any country's history and culture for ever - and for the better."

With the melange of global and African innovative business leaders currently in the country, the Festival of Africa's Investment Summit will take place on Thursday 24th June 2010.  The aim of the Summit is to facilitate investment alliances for the participating countries. Its key focus will be Infrastructure Development, Trade and Investments. "The Festival of Africa at Melrose Arch will be Africa's signature event during the World Cup, our statement that the continent is ready to welcome the world for tourism, business and cultural exchanges" says RETOSA Executive Director, Francis Mfune.

The Summit will be the ideal platform to bolster international relations, by providing the leverage for networking among member states and visitors to discuss and deliberate business opportunities on the continent - which has, in light of the current global economic crisis, been described as "the final financial frontier".

Through facilitated discussions between the donor community, international financial institutions, investors, regional economic groupings and multilateral institutions; the Investment Summit will also look at sector-specific and regional investment projects that can support Africa in job creation, regional integration and enhance Africa's competitiveness as a global investment destination.

Lending its support to the Summit is: The Southern Africa Development Community (SADC), Nepad, the Africa Union, Boundless Southern Africa, the Small Enterprise Development Agency (SEDA), the South African Department of Tourism, the Gauteng Tourism Authority and the City of Johannesburg. These key players on the continent and the country are encouraging organisations with an interest in promoting Africa to get involved.

The presence of participants from the DRC, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe ensures that the Summit will be a major success and attract investment proposals in the interest of securing investment alliances for the participating countries. And with the involvement of the Small Enterprise Development Agency (SEDA), the Summit will ensure the interests of the small business sector are catered for.

Donkor sums up the essence of the Summit: "This is meant to be an African World Cup. The Investor Summit is the best opportunity the Southern African region will have to show its investment opportunities along with its regional and continental solidarity through cultural exchange, to world."

*  For more information go to www.festivalofafrica.co.za

16 June 2010
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