Re-thinking Africa’s business model

After 15 years of sustained growth, Africa is facing less favourable winds. Although certain countries, such as Senegal, Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia and Tanzania, are still performing well and achieving world-class results, overall growth for 2016 is expected at 3% – a far cry from the 6% achieved ten years ago – which calls for a more detailed analysis of the economic boom of the 2000s.

Since around the beginning of the new millennium, the continent has benefited massively from its natural resources, attracted local and international investment in sectors such as telecoms, finance and agribusiness and, in general, firmly positioned itself on the global investment map. However, the triumphs of the “glorious decade” should not lead us to forget that, due to insufficient structural improvement, the diversification, industrialisation, competitiveness and good governance of African economies have not been successfully accomplished, as is now evident in the rising to surface of old issues such as indebtedness and macroeconomic imbalances.

“The private sector has an even more central role to play in the sustainable transformation of the African economic model,” said Amir Ben Yahmed, president of the AFRICA CEO FORUM. “By holding the 2017 edition under the theme ‘Re-thinking Africa’s business model’, we have chosen to focus on the changes that must be made in order to succeed in this new economic cycle.” Unleashing innovation and all entrepreneurial energies, including those of start-ups, young and women entrepreneurs, increasing Africa’s attractiveness to international investors, improving the competitiveness of stock exchanges, and encouraging the creation of more export-orientated activities all feature as major themes of this 5th edition.

On 20 and 21 March, in Geneva, the AFRICA CEO FORUM 2017 will provide a platform for over 1,000 African and international figures from industry, finance and politics to discuss these future-oriented themes during key conferences and high-level round tables and benefit from numerous opportunities for business meetings.

We are delighted to welcome you for a pre-event cocktail on March 19 at 7pm at the Intercontinental Hotel (for registered participants only).

Africa Hall

Reinventing the African “business model”

Currency devaluations, a fall in public spending, import restrictions: the economic downturn is now hitting a large number of companies and consumers on the continent. On top of that, social needs are growing, even in countries spared by economic hardship. The state of affairs reveals the limits of policies implemented to date. This challenging situation throws open the debate on the much-needed structural and sector-focused reforms to ensure a robust, inclusive and sustainable growth.

Key points :

  • Africa’s high-growth decade: assessment and lessons
  • Four growth pillars to build on now: hard currency, infrastructure, human capital development, digitalization.
  • How can the private sector best contribute to the success of the new “business model”?

Speakers


2017 INDUSTRY OUTLOOK – PRIVATE EQUITY

Addis Abeba Hall

Is it time to rethink Private Equity in Africa?

Private Equity fundraising for Africa has doubled within a decade, reaching $16.2 billion during the 2010-2015 period. However, despite a slight increase in fundraising in 2016, the market has seen a significant slowdown in investments into African targets. This trend is opening a debate on the conventional forms of PE investment. Is the traditional PE investment model still suitable for the realities of African companies?

Key points :

  • Cyclical adjustment or structural scarcity of targets: what are the lessons to be drawn from the decrease in deal flow?
  • Which Private Equity model is best suited for the African context?
  • Venture capital, club deals, management buyout, etc. How can alternative models support the development of Private Equity in Africa?

Speakers


2017 INDUSTRY OUTLOOK – AGRIBUSINESS

Dakar Hall

Agribusiness: 10 high potential markets to watch

West African poultry consumption is growing at 7%. East Africa consumes 5% more milk a year. Growth in demand is lifting African operators, suggesting the beginnings of a significant agribusiness industry. However, many challenges – from weak yields to land scarcity – still need to be addressed, both by the private sector and Governments. What strategies are being implemented across the continent to boost the sector? Which short-term priorities are needed to create competitive industries?

Key points:

  • Which sectors stand out as the most promising for the next five years? (e.g. poultry farming, horticulture, oilseeds cultivation, etc.)
  • Know-how, financing, productivity, quality: what are the key enablers for developing a strong African agribusiness industry?
  • Land availability, taxation, energy, foreign trade: how can governments best support private sector initiatives to structure high-value agribusiness chains?

 

Speakers

Africa Hall

Women and companies: building strength in unity

Despite significant progress, there are still too many barriers to women’s leadership and their rise within African companies. Yet the benefits of women leadership are proven: companies with over 25% women in management have a 20% higher operating margin. However, African companies have still a long way to go before benefiting from their full potential. How can we better promote women leadership in African business?

Key points :

  • Key characteristics of the leadership of African women.
  • The best tools to spur the development of a new generation of African women leaders (flexibility, mentoring, etc.)
  • Case studies: why is women’s leadership at the core of the new corporate strategies?

Speakers


BUILDING THE NEW AFRICAN ECONOMY – ECONOMIC NATIONALISM

Africa Hall

Will economic nationalism put “Africa First”?

With Donald Trump arguing for ‘America First’, and Xi Jinping lecturing Davos about protectionism, the world is backwards. And economic nationalism is back on the agenda: African leaders want the next Samsung, Toyota or Huawei to be created at home. Do they have to copy successful Asia, by subsidizing and protecting their industry? Or is the free market route to prosperity a safer bet? The answer will have huge implications for companies, banks and policy across the continent.

Key points:

  • To protect or not to protect? Have Morocco, Rwanda and Ethiopia cracked the code of “smart economic nationalism”?
  • Can Africa avoid fallout from a tariff war between China and the US? What risks for African markets?
  • Can regional trade blocs function to promote multi-nationals as the EU has done with Airbus? How to manage competition within a regional context?

Speakers


DRIVING CHANGE – DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION

Dakar Hall

How to catch up in the Digital transformation race

While HSBC invests two billion dollars in its digital transformation, Tanzania’s public and private sectors are spending four times less on software and computer equipment. African companies are slowly beginning their digital revolution. But there is a strong risk that the digital gap compared to counterparts in other regions will grow. From customer relations to production process, digital transformation has a significant impact on all business lines. How can we accelerate this crucial transition in Africa’s race for competitiveness?

Key points:

  • Rethinking your business model or processes by including a digital dimension (e.g. logistics).
  • Insights from digital giants in Africa (e.g. IBM, Oracle).
  • What are the priorities and management practices needed to implement digital transformation? Sharing of best practices in key business lines.

Speakers


2017 INDUSTRY OUTLOOK – FINTECH

Dakar Hall

Retail, banking, telecoms: the Fintech effect

Africa has become one of the world’s most dynamic Financial Technology (Fintech) marketplace, with more than 80% of global mobile payments. Steady growth in mobile internet access is also expected to increase the sector attractiveness. By multiplying the possibilities well beyond payments and money transfer, this new industry will profoundly transform African economies in the coming decade. What disruptions are ahead? How will the tools put in place by banks, telecom operators and corporate clients change the face of financial transactions?

Key points:

  • From mobile payments to crypto-currencies: key Fintech achievements and new trends in Africa.
  • Telecom, banks: which strategic moves can we expect? How these decisions will impact their businesses? How to address the coming regulatory framework?
  • Which sectors will be most affected in the short term? How will it be used? How can African companies get ahead of the changes?

Speakers


DRIVING CHANGE – FAMILY BUSINESS

Casablanca Hall

Family Business: the modern toolbox to manage family assets

The “glorious decade” has enabled African family-owned companies to grow quickly. Those companies that have reached a critical size are facing new challenges related to the family’s assets; both tangible and intangible. Different management strategies have proven to be successful in Latin American and Middle Eastern countries, which account for an average of 70% of family groups in their Top 100 companies (compared to 20% in Africa). Can they serve as models for African family businesses?

Key points :

  • Managing family wealth: is the widely-implemented Family Office model relevant in the African context? What are the alternative options?
  • Philanthropy: what are the merits of a family foundation?
  • How to build the family image to turn it into an asset?

Speakers


THE CEO ROUNDTABLE – HEALTH

Conakry Hall

The CEO Roundtable is a working meeting which facilitates exchange between participants, allowing them to discuss current trends within their sector, and to share experiences and best practices with their peers. These sessions are reserved for participants who have signed-up in advance.


2017 INDUSTRY OUTLOOK – ELECTRICITY

Casablanca Hall

Can off-grid electricity power Africa?

Plugging Africa into a power grid to provide electricity for all would cost $830 billion… This amount alone makes a strong case for off-grid solutions. They allow faster electrification while spreading the investment load. They also offer multiple business opportunities to African companies in electrification projects ranging from villages to factories, with conventional or renewable energies. To what extent will off-grid boost growth and deliver the long-awaited African electricity sector?

Key points:

  • Case study: achievements and milestones of leading African countries in off-grid solutions.
  • Electricity production, electrical equipment, financing, maintenance: the upcoming opportunities for African companies.
  • From regulation to financing, what is the government’s role in supporting the sector take off?

 

Speakers


THE FUTURE OF LEADERSHIP

Dakar Hall

How to build leaders in your company

Many African companies and CEOs now need more than just reliable and motivated managers. Especially given the multiple fronts on which businesses have been expanding in recent years. True leadership has become crucial to ensure the success of future African champions. Companies expanding in Africa are now seeking to nurture leaders able to take over in the coming decades. So how do we create a culture that fosters the development of leaders supporting the CEOs?

Key points:

  • Which leadership-sharing models will help CEOs grow leaders within their companies?
  • Coaching, mentoring, etc. The essential tools to develop leadership capacities.

 

Speakers

Africa Hall