The African-Arab Economic Forum kicked off its sessions on Monday as part of the pre-African-Arab Summit functions. The first session, "Arab-African Cooperation in Development", was led by Chief of Staff to the Chair of the African Union Commission Jean-Baptiste Natama and discussed the role of Arab institutions in supporting development in Africa. Speakers included Abdulatif Al-Hamad Director-General and Chairman of the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development (AFESD) and President of the African Development Bank Group (AfDB) Donald Kaberuka. As for the second, led by Islamic Development Bank (IDB) Group Chairman Ahmad Mohamed Ali Al-Madani, it discussed cooperation between Arab and African development bodies in the field of infrastructure and the exchange of expertise. Speaking in this session was Director General of the OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID) Suleiman Al-Herbish. The third session will discuss policies, laws and procedures for investment in Africa, through the support of ties and growth and increasing the flow of direct foreign investments between both regions, headed by Kuwaiti ex-Finance Minister Bader Al-Homaizi. Speakers will include Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency Sector Leader of Agribusiness, Manufacturing and Services Nabil Fawaz, Arab Foundation for Investment Guarantees Director-General Fahad Al-Ibrahim and Johan Frederick from the School of International Affairs at Pennsylvania State University. A fourth session called "Joint Arab-African Investments" will be led by Commissioner of Economic Affairs at the African Union Commission Anthony Mothae Maruping. It will include lectures on the prospects of investment cooperation between Arabs and Africans delivered by Chairman of Jordan's Chamber Of Commerce Nael Al-Kabariti, creating investment opportunities in Africa in the wake of Arab world relations by African Union Commisssion Director of Economic Affairs Rene N'Guettia Kouassi and another on the institutional role of safeguarding investments and exports in the Arab and African regions. A leading African Union Commission (AUC) official responsible for economic affairs said that African relations with the Arab world were strong but called to enhance the role of private organisations in this cooperation. In the speech of the African Union Commission at the African-Arab Economic Forum hosted by Kuwait, Commissioner of Economic Affairs at the African Union Commission Anthony Mothae Maruping urged attendees to help achieve the aims of the forum through practical means. The AUC looks forward to true development that solves differences between African Union member nations peacefully and achieves the continent's development goals. The forum, which he described as a huge and unique event in the path of relations between both regions, was important in achieving tangible trade exchange. He also proposed the need for an international framework that organises financial support of impoverished nations with the aim of reaching sustainable development. The forum, held a week before the actual summit, was inaugurated on Monday by Kuwait Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Sheikh Salem Al-Sabah on behalf of HH the Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah.