World Chambers Federation

African chambers unite to strengthen private sector role

  • 25 November 2008

African chambers of commerce met in the Ethiopian capital today to strengthen the continental chamber network, to lend greater support to the continent’s private sector and work more closely with chambers globally.

The conference was held in the context of preparing African business to compete effectively and win market share amid ongoing globalization.

Prince Sifiso Zulu led the discussions in the session focusing on the future role of chambers in Africa.“Developing economies are becoming more important, particularly in the light of the current global economic climate,” said Prince Sifiso Zulu, Vice Chair, ICC World Chambers Federation (WCF) and Past President of the Durban Chamber of Commerce. “It is critical WCF plays a positive role in working more closely with chambers from regions where these economies are located, including Africa.”

The meeting marks an important step in the ongoing development of the Union of African Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Agriculture and Professions (UACCIAP), which counts members in 42 countries. The UACCIAP was established in 2005 to dynamize the role of the private sector and boost economic development in Africa, and was promoted worldwide via WCF during its 4th World Chambers Congress in South Africa. UACCIAP is also a member of the WCF Transnational Chambers Board.

The conference, held in collaboration with the African Union and the Ethiopian Chamber of Commerce and Sectoral Associations, was well attended by chambers from throughout Africa and overseas, as well as by representatives from government, intergovernmental and non-governmental associations, and civic and business associations.

“Meetings such as today’s can help formulate visions, develop initiatives, and come up with practical work plans,” said Mohamed El Masry, Chairman of UACCIAP.

The organization is in the midst of setting up an African business information network to promote African trade and investment. The UACCIAP is also launching a workshop and exhibition on African agriculture in March.

To develop a pan-African information source on the private sector, from identifying high-performing business executives to quantifying the number of business start-ups and flagging national strategies to promote entrepreneurship, the UACCIAP is also proposing to launch a day celebrating African skills and business on 12 May 2009, announced Juliana Lumumba, UACCIAP Secretary General.