The African Trade and Investment Summit which concluded this week in Washington, DC was ambitious in scale and scope. The event was a comprehensive look at the current business climate in various parts of the continent. It was also an opportunity for business people to connect and to initiate or strengthen business relationships. Here are three takeaways:
- The entire African continent was well represented. Similar conferences in the US seem to feature the biggest economies plus a few high profile nations in the east and west. At ATIGS there were attendees and panelists from every region and language group. In addition, there were several country briefings allowing attendees to explore a specific market in more detail.
- Africa has the world’s attention. Naturally there was much discussion about strengthening trade ties between Africa and the US. Meanwhile, other parts of the world are deeply engaged in many African countries and industry sectors. China and India of course have a strong presence. There were also briefings and business forums on the Middle East, the European Union, Canada, and Latin America.
- ATIGS provided a useful networking opportunity. The sheer size of the event and the wide variety of industries and countries represented made it a great place to meet people and make connections. The attendees included entrepreneurs, bankers, business developers, advisors, government officials and NGO executives, and a small number of investors. Attendees took advantage of breaks in the schedule for impromptu meetings and introductions. The organizers also provided an online mechanism to schedule meetings prior to the conference. That these meetings happened set the tone for the conference as a place for business to be done.
ATIGS 2018 was an impressive event well worth attending despite a few logistical snags. The Labacore team has developed a strong network and displayed considerable prowess in marketing the conference. We look forward to their next project.