In recent years, the Africa growth success story has been somehow tampered: flagging foreign direct investments, lack of integration, economic recession and falling prices for primary goods. Yet the economic prospect is still excellent and there has never been so much money invested on the continent.
What is intrinsically happening on the ground: shift towards more specialized economies, regional integration, public reforms? Is the informal becoming more and more structured? How are global mega trends affecting African economies: politics, societal changes and large global topics (e.g Trade war, Brexit, or Chinese foray on the continent)?
This opening keynote panel will help the conference attendees make sense of these topics by touching upon the current state of African economies, the change affecting them and their likely outcomes.
Africa is a region with enormous potential for private investors. It is a continent in transition, with rapid urbanization, increasing stability, a young and growing population, rising incomes, and shifting consumption patterns. Taken together, these enduring trends have created an abundance of commercial opportunities across the continent and turned the region into a place that investors cannot afford to ignore. Yet given the scale and long-term nature of new investment required to meet rising consumption patterns, commercial bank financing alone will not be adequate to meet the expected demand for large-scale projects with associated high risks due to political, economic and social instability. Mobilization of investment from a wide range of sources remains critical.
Africa is full of entrepreneurial potential, from small family businesses in commodities to tech startups. Yet, the bottom line appears to be that job creation expectation rate for many countries still remains quite low and that (digital) entrepreneurship is not easy money, that it takes time, and that it is highly embedded within existing markets, institutions, infrastructure, and technologies. At the same time, after having leapfrogged the fixed line technology, embraced mobile and pioneered solutions which are now replicated elsewhere (mobile money), Africa is getting ready for the new digital revolution.
Leading African organizations is in many aspects not different from leading organizations across the world. Leaders need to identify and develop talents, make them work together and focus on the right challenges and opportunities. To scale, they also need to set up processes, organize information flow in their organization, coordinate priorities, while being more and more customer centric.
On the other hand, leaders need to consider African peculiarities stemming from the cultures and development levels of the places they operate in.
There is a stronger need for adaptability in locations where structured and formal information is sometimes expensive or lacking, where regulation enforcement might be feeble and non-transparent and where natural, social or political changes can happen suddenly. Also, companies are facing a workforce that has been evolving with its local society’s trends (more women, more repatriate and foreigners, more youngster joining the workforce…).
Ultimately, African companies like their peers elsewhere face the need to be better community actors in front of the local challenges (environmental change impact, education, capacity building, CSR…),
This panel will help attendees understand how leadership is evolving in Africa, and how best to apprehend the markets, as there is no one size fits all.
Why Africa? Why now? What to keep in mind when doing business in Africa?
This closing session, powered by McKinsey’s Acha Leke and drawing from his acclaimed book “Africa’s Business Revolution” will revisit what it takes to have a winning strategy on the African continent building on the concrete, actionable insights on doing business in the next big growth market shared throughout the day.
It will summarize all the key takeaways of our previous panels and draw perspectives.