Africa's top business leaders in talks in Geneva

In Geneva one of Europe’s trade capitals 500 CEOs from some of Africa’s most influential companies debated the continents economic future.

It was the first time they had met like this to consider the challenges ahead and how to build on what has been a sustained period of growth.

For bosses from influential oil and gas giants, the telecoms sector and smaller companies, it was business only a time to talk without any state intervention.

Valentine Rugwabiza, Deputy Director General, WTO said: “African trade growth has been impressive in the last decade. It has multiplied by four. The growth of exports rose from 150 billion to 600 billion dollars. But the hiatus is that basically, regional integration that is trade between African countries has just evolved over the decade going from 10 to 11%.”

Mobile communications billionaire Mo Ibrahim was there. At the turn of the decade such companies didn’t feature on Africa’s business rankings, now the telecoms sector has replaced mining as the second largest.

Our correspondent, Francois Chignac in Geneva says: “The question now is could the optimism on the continent of Africa be swept away if the European and global economic crisis continues? It is likely Africa could struggle and not avoid the economic jolt.”