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New African connections: Åpningstale

Speech given by His Royal Highness The Crown Prince at the opening of the conference New African Connections, Oslo 21 June 2011.

Minister, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Good afternoon.

Economic growth and innovative technology create new opportunities all over the world, so also in African countries. Increasingly, governments and companies discover business potential at the African continent. The Crown Princess and I had the opportunity to see some inspiring examples for ourselves when we visited Ghana together with the Norwegian Minister of Development, Mr Erik Solheim, in April.

We need to make sure that whole populations can benefit from these new developments.
Also the worst off groups, the marginalized, should reap the positive effects of economic growth and technological innovation. That is the best way to create stable peaceful societies over time.

Partnership between the public and the private sector is key. Global cooperation through the UN, democratic governance, international support, investments and innovation are all crucial components. Involving communities and civil society, who know the local context well, is necessary to develop mutually beneficial partnerships.

New technology, in particular within mobile software and systems, is already making its impact on various communities in Africa. In Rwanda, SMS is used to make sure that women can have safe pregnancies.
In Kenya, mobile phone banking gives poor people access to safe financial services. During this conference, representatives from governments, companies and civil society will present inspiring success stories from such partnerships.

I hope that the conference will foster even more innovation and inspiring cooperation and show that it is possible to do well economically by doing good for people.

Thank you


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