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Enhancing Africa's Opportunity: The G7 Contribution and Challenge

Organized by the G7 Research Group at the University of Toronto
and the Jena Africa Study Group at the Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena
Thüringer Landesvertretung Berlin
June 2-3, 2015


The conference starts on June 2nd with an opening address on the German Africa Policy Guidelines and their relation to the Summit Agenda, given by Professor Robert Kappel. The participants then explore in five subsequent sessions the current challenges and opportunities for Africa in exactly the fields identified by the German government as the most urgent areas of action.

The first panel "Prospects for Trade and Investment" discusses the effects of new trends in trade and investment such as global value chains and regional integration, for Sub-Saharan Africa. In the last years, the enormous importance of infrastructure has become apparent. On the macro level, models of regional integration experienced in other regions (Europe and Asia come to mind) are to be considered. Moreover, the effects of ongoing mega trade deals such as TTIP and TPP on Africa's trade policies are centred, besides BRICS' influences and African trade integration topics.

The second panel on "Resource Abundance, Energy Security, Innovation Processes" presents Africa's management of resources and its capacity in innovation and technology. On the one hand, the dilemma of resource abundance and notwithstanding relatively low level of development will be discussed by our panellists. On the other hand, there is a huge demand for resources from the G7 and others to maintain energy security. Against this background, the importance of innovation systems in the envisaged plan of transforming African countries into knowledge economies is absolutely crucial. One of the aims is to pave the way for integrating African research and development's community into the global innovation path, by enhancing not only traditional North-South but also South-South linkages of technology transfer and cooperation. Finally, the role of entrepreneurship and private sectors of the economy, as well as the formation of small and medium enterprises in Africa are also key topics for academics and policy makers in the field to debate.

The third panel on "The G7 and its Potential to Mitigate Governance Problems in Africa" is devoted to political aspects of development in Africa. There are broad and diverse phenomena of low governance performance among African countries. Some states lack strong, concentrated political centres, and may well be described as tribal societies without central governments. However, dictatorship in some other states is triumphing over the political and economic freedom of the citizens. In addition, corruption is a huge problem. Together, these difficulties hinder the economic and social development of Africa in different ways. Given the characteristics and colonial background of African countries, the questions of how G7 can influence political reform in Africa with its fundamental.

The fourth panel on health policies "Fighting Epidemic Diseases and Providing Basic Health Services" is dedicated to current problems regarding Ebola, but also to the long-term questions of sustainability. The worst outbreak ever of the epidemic this year has extremely damaged West Africa. It does not only cost lives but also has negative economic and social effects for the affected countries, being isolated from other countries. Major challenges facing the fight of Ebola include transport, coordination, equipment and the availability of trained staff. The present state of the epidemic indeed requires urgent coordinated international response, especially in humanitarian assistance. A longer term plan for the development of healthcare and environment's infrastructure and capacity in African states will help these countries to self-protect from similar threats from epidemic and environmental issues.

Last but not least, the fifth panel "African Growth Prospects: What Can the G7 Contribute" directs the discussion to Africa's core economic development in coming decades under G7 perspectives. The last ten years have seen Africa's major transformation of economic development, giving high hope and expectation for the continent from rising growth rates. China has contributed its role significantly in this process, besides G7's continuous efforts in the region. Sustainable ways of development for Africa's current and future generations are the aim of policy makers and economists inside and outside of the region. This interest is shared by the G7 and African nations. The panellists discuss the role of the industrialized countries under the guidance

The sessions are organized such that the panelists give their brief (5-10 min) individual impulses respectively before they interact with each other and the whole group. It is highly appreciated if each participant sends a brief abstract or theses paper of her or his impulse a week before the conference, accompanied by a brief bio. They will be printed and handed to all participants.

Based on these statements and the contributions during the conference, JASG plans to write a report on the conference. JASG staff will draft the report during the conference and will brief the press directly afterwards. We also plan to invite journalists and hand out the report/abstracts to them.

It is also planned to derive policy conclusions wrt the Summit itself.

The afternoon of June is open to a broader audience. Media Tenor – one of our partners – will launch the Africa Growth 2015, followed by the three impulses of prominent experts. The day will be concluded by a keynote given by the Ambassador of Botswana to Germany Mrs. Tswelopele C. Moremi who will address African growth perspectives.

The participants then will share a conference dinner sponsored by and held at the Deutsche Industrie-und Handelskammertag (DIHK) The second day is dedicated to two sessions; see the detailed Program for the exact timing.

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Invitation Only

Welcome address by
Andreas Freytag, Heiko Schwiderowski and John Kirton

Opening address
"The German Africa Strategy against the Background of the G7 Summit Agenda"
Chair: Andreas Freytag
Speaker: Robert Kappel

Panel 1:
"Prospects for Trade and Investment"
Chair: Susanne Fricke
Estian Calitz
Peter Draper
Thomas Schmidt

Panel 2:
"Resource Abundance, Energy Security, Climate Change, Innovation Processes"
Chair: Matthias Wachter, BDI
Uwe Cantner
Gerd Meier zu Köcker
Ella Kokotsis

Panel 3:
"The G7 and its Potential to Mitigate Governance Problems in Africa"
Chair: Heiko Schwiderowski
Christian Bjørnskov
Mzukisi Qobo
Christoph Kannengießer

Panel 4:
"Fighting Epidemic Diseases and Providing Basic Health Services"
Chair: Ilona Kickbusch
Axel Brackhage
Stefan Klasen
Michael Rabbow

Panel 5:
"African Growth Prospects: What Can the G7 Contribute?"
Chair: Julia Kulik
Caroline Bracht
Helmut Asche
Matthias Bauer
Abebe Aemro Selassie

Wrap-up by John Kirton and Andreas Freytag

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Public Event
Business Opportunities in Southern Africa: Does Our Perception Match Reality?

Welcome Address, Professor Dr. Andreas Freytag

Presentation: Africa Growth Report 2015:
Dr. Tobias Thomas

Human Rights Orientation of German Development Cooperation: Open Questions,
Heiko Schwiderowski
Factory Southern Africa
Peter Draper
The G7's Changing Perception of Africa?
John Kirton

Opportunities in Botswana and Beyond,
Tswelopele Cornelia Moremi
Ambassador of the Republic of Botswana to the Federal Republic of Germany

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Deutscher Industrie- und Handelskammertag (DIHK)
Freistaat Thüringen
Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena
Jackman Foundation
University of Toronto:
     Centre for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies
     Faculty of Arts and Science Germany/Europe Fund
     Munk School of Global Affairs
     Department of Political Science
     Asian Institute
     Bill Graham Centre for Contemporary International History, Trinity College
The Embassy of Canada in Berlin

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