The 5th IGAD Business Forum Meeting opened in Addis Ababa at Intercontinental hotel this morning with representation from the African Development Bank, the national chamber of commerce of IGAD member states, Pan African Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the private sector.

In his opening speech, African Development Bank Deputy director general for East African region Dr. Abdul Kamara said the AfDB was happy to associate itself with the IGAD Business Forum and that the bank believes in the crucial role of the private sector in driving economic growth, prosperity and social transformation. He also noted that the bank`s faith in this role is demonstrated by the bank`s financial support which made it possible for this IBF meeting to take place here in Addis Ababa.

The Executive Secretary of IGAD H.E Dr. Workneh Gebeyehu whose speech was read by his representative Mr. Joseph Rwanshote the Program Manager for trade, industry and tourism welcomed the initiative and applauded the private sector for the important work they play in the economy specially in job creation.

The Executive Secretary observed that the business community is a crucial pillar in the raod map to build a self-sustaining African Economic Community. “The importance of the business community in facilitating trade, advising on ways of bringing down the costs of doing business cannot be overemphasised and the private sector will be crucial in the successful implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement”, said Dr. Workneh

Dr Workneh also noted the challenge posed by the disruptive impact of Covid-19 and the need for the private sector to adapt to new ways of doing things in order to recover from the adverse effect of covid-19.

The IGAD Business Forum has a rotating presidency which is held by each member states` national chambers of commerce and industry. Therefore, in keeping with this rotating tradition, in this meeting Kenya handed over the IBF presidency to Ethiopia to preside for the next two year