This particularly successful 2019 edition of the Congolese Business Forum was marked by the presence of four Heads of State and leading African personalities. Debrief.
‘Who would have thought, just a few years ago, that four African Presidents would accept the invitation of a private business network and come to exchange with the private sector?’ Beginning her opening speech with these words, Nicole Sulu, President of Makutano, pointed out the historical nature of the event and recalled that the presence of Presidents Thsisekedi, Issoufou, Sirleaf and Mahama was the obvious sign of an Africa that had already changed its paradigm. Alain Foka, also present at the forum, would also confirm that this is the first time this has happened on the continent. This edition was marked by this strong commitment of the Presidents - we will note the four visits of President Tshisekedi in two days - but also that of some VIPs among whom Samuel Eto’o, who participated in the workshop on sport business, and about 650 participants.
The theme of the three-day forum focused on innovative levers to boost the economy and competitiveness in the DRC. In other words, the idea was to leave aside the observations on the current situation, the reasons that had led the country to the impasse in which it finds itself, and to try to explore innovative or, at the very least, little explored avenues. Some twenty round tables and workshops therefore made it possible to propose a thematic focus on subjects as varied as the replenishment of State coffers without increasing the tax burden via innovative financial tools, the sport business, the creation of a contemporary art market, agro-business, issues related to sustainable development, and those related to the reappropriation of the national economy by nationals or in the country’s image.
While we are not convinced that real innovative levers were developed during these two days of conferences, the fact remains that initiating this debate was, in itself, particularly interesting. Because finally, the theme has opened a field of possibilities rarely observed in this type of forum in the DRC, or even in Africa. And it is also clear that this Makutano “spirit”, which strives to rid the debates of time-consuming protocols and to propose a different, more convivial and direct mode of exchange between business leaders, and between business leaders and public decision-makers, is perhaps the most innovative lever suggested during these meetings!