No fewer than 13 head of states and over 1,000 delegates are expected to participate in the World Economic Forum (WEF) on Africa beginning from Wednesday in Abuja.
Ms Elsie Kanza, Director, Head of Africa, disclosed this at a pre-event briefing on the WEF on Monday in Abuja.
She said the number was one of the largest the forum had witnessed in the many years it had been hosted in different countries.
“We are expecting over a thousand participants from over 70 countries, more than half will comes from African countries and many will come from the business communities, NGOs and religious groups,’’ she said.
She listed some the country’s head of states that would be participating as China, Republic of Benin, Cote d’Ivoire, Togo, Rwanda, Kenya, Algeria, Tunisia, Ghana, Mali, Senegal, Niger and the U.S.
She said that Nigeria as the largest economy in Africa has a great role to play in the region to ensure positive economic growth.
According to her, Africa by 2040 would have larger work force than china.
Kanza said the major focus of the forum would be on how best to ensure that Africa with its positive growth rate could be inclusive.
She noted that 59 per cent of African youths were unemployed, adding that private sector participation would help to create job opportunities.
“The forum as you already have seen will focus on inclusive growth, how to get policies change and better business modules that can help create jobs.
“It will look at how to make citizens to participate in making decision that can help change communities,’’ she said.
On security, she said that WEF was concerned about the abduction of the school girls in Chibok and prayed that they would be rescued soon.
She noted that terrorism was a global trend that was not peculiar to Nigeria, adding that it had become a growing concern to the region too.
She assured that conversation on issues of insecurity in the region would also come up as one of the topic on the agenda at the meeting.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Federal Government had assured all delegates that adequate security measures would be put in place during the forum.
Public offices and schools had been mandated to close down from Wednesday, May 7 to Friday May 9, to ease traffic during the forum in the capital territory.
Meanwhile, NAN reports that most Nigerian journalists may not have access to cover the forum because of unconfirmed accreditation.