We are excited to announce the 16th annual African Economic Forum (AEF) at Columbia University. We look forward to having you join us and our distinguished speakers while we explore this year’s theme — Technology vs. Industrialization: The Way Forward.

The 2019 theme is meant to foster discussion on whether African nations would be best served embracing broad based technological innovations or following the historic pattern of re-organizing from an agrarian to industrial society. This has been a hotly debated topic among Africa stakeholders during recent years. 

Some believe that technological innovation is enough to develop a middle class and, ultimately, create sustainable economies. Others believe that, similar to the paths of current world powers, industrialization will generate the desired development and growth. Undoubtedly, the answer lies somewhere in the middle – this theme positions the AEF at the nexus of two, seemingly contradictory, ideas with the hope that participants walk away with additional insight. 

By bringing together an expert and diverse range of panelists and keynote speakers, we aim to ensure that AEF continues to provide a forum for meaningful engagement. We anticipate that participants will leave this year’s conference with a renewed sense of what a successful future may look like for Africa and what role they may be able to play in the continent’s development.