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African Hidden Champions hosts Egypt’s top business leaders

The African Hidden Champions (AHC) initiative has hosted its first “Dinner & Dialogue” in North Africa in Cairo, Egypt. The event is part of a series of regional events that the initiative is holding in key business hubs across Africa in 2023.

AHC, a co-partnership of Africa Foresight Group, DEG – Deutsche Investitions- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft (The German Development Finance Institution) and the African Development Bank, was founded in 2020 and now has more than 25 dynamic African firms in its network, supporting them by telling their stories, exposing them to new markets, and providing technical assistance. The event took place on 19 June.

“We are very honoured to be hosting this regional forum with key players in the business sector of not only the country but also the North African region. We believe that African companies have the necessary leadership capacity and knowhow to conquer global markets,” said Yasmin Kumi, AHC Co – Founder and CEO Africa Foresight Group. Co-partner DEG representative, Wael Akari added that “North Africa is a vital part of the African economic growth story, so it is no surprise that several AHC firms are located in the region”.

Participants at the event included executive leadership of African Hidden Champion companies headquartered in Cairo.

Ahmed Ezz El – Din, Group CEO of Cleopatra Hospitals said the initiative represented recognition of his group’s unwavering commitment to excellence and to the growth and development of the Egyptian healthcare industry.

“We believe in the immense potential of Africa’s business landscape, and we are committed to actively contributing to its growth by sharing our expertise and best practices while fostering collaborations and partnerships that enhance healthcare outcomes across the continent. With Egypt’s strategic geographic location and its potential to serve as a regional hub, CHG is well-positioned to expand its reach and capitalize on business opportunities within Africa,” El Din added.

The vice chairman of the Al Araby Group, an African home appliance brand with a footprint in several countries across the continent, said the firm was expanding its business further and aspired to become a global brand. Dr Mamdouh Al Araby told participants that the group which began operations in 1964, has a workforce of more than 40,000.

Dr. Ghada Abuzaid, Principal Industrial Program Coordinator represented the Bank Group’s Industrial and Trade Development Department which supports the acceleration of industrialization and private sector development in Africa through several flagship programs.

“To help African businesses grow and thrive beyond their borders, since 2015, The African Development Bank has channelled a total investment of $550 million in regional champion fertilizer producers and is committed to invest more than $3 billion in support of local and regional manufacturers to upscale their capacities, broaden their product lines and increase their industrial footprint beyond the borders,” Ghada said.

“The growth of these enterprises and their participation in the global value chain in turn catalyzes their countries’ economies,” she added.

The chairman of the Egyptian-African Businessmen Association, Dr Yousry El Sharkawi, described the event as a good opportunity to meet business owners, large companies and decision makers from the private sector.

“We believe in the bank’s effective private sector engagement and its innovative financial tools and as it plans to support industrial activities. It is worth noting that the meeting brought together a new and distinguished network that will produce a potentially diversified investment basket,” El Sharkawi said.

The event also received endorsements from other participants.

“African Hidden Champions is an initiative that we welcome, and we believe will be a driving force for the sustainable development of African businesses. This networking event was a good introduction to AHC and its goals and initiatives,” Gamal Farid, Orascom Construction Business Development Director, said.

AHC will announce the next cohort of winning Hidden Champion companies in the coming months.

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