The AFRICA CEO FORUM’s programme

African champions: it’s transformation time

Despite the restrictions of a business climate that remains challenging, an organised and enterprising African private sector has emerged over the past two decades. Applying innovative methods and original strategies, it has shown its dynamism in the best of times, and its resilience in the worst. But the number and size of major African companies remains small when measured against other emerging regions. The time has come for today’s African champions to hoist themselves up to the level of global competitiveness, powering the way for the next generation!

 

Tech revolutions: widening gap or leapfrog opportunity?

 

For more than a century, development followed a similar pattern: consolidate political institutions, grow agricultural productivity, build a manufacturing fabric, and evolve towards heavy industry. This strategy made South Korea, Japan and China rich, and the United States and Western Europe before them. But this model is looking outdated. Robotization, artificial intelligence and digitalization disrupt industrialization policies, reducing their ability to provide employment while bringing profound changes to the business model in several sectors. In Africa, where job creation is urgently needed but many sectors are still underdeveloped, these new conditions offer both risks and opportunities. How can the continent’s CEOs and companies adapt in order to turn this historic shift into a catalyst for growth and transformation?

Key points:

  • What economic policies are needed to conform to the new global dynamic? How does technological disruption change the story in terms of job creation?
  • Education, infrastructure, governance: what structural changes must Africa make to adapt to this new era?

Speakers

 From 11:00 to 11:45

Together, let’s build a sustainable future!

 

When a global business leader meet one of the most sought-after African political leader… In an exclusive and unprecedented dialogue, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, President of Ghana, and Paul Polman, Group CEO of Unilever, will give substance to the global compact between business and government, question the place of Africa in the world, the donor-dependance of the continent and the role of multinationals and private sector in building sustainable growth.

Speakers

From 11:00 to 12:30

 

Women as tomorrow’s leaders

 

In Africa today, only 5% of the CEOs of major groups are women. And yet the positive impact of female leaders on financial performance is beyond doubt: businesses on the continent with the most women on their boards have an operating profit over 20% higher than industry averages. Why the discrepancy? How can we change the story and accelerate female leadership? The Africa CEO Forum’s “Women Initiative” invites five exceptional CEOs to give their take on the subject.

Key points:

  • Paths to the top: challenges and keys to success
  • How can African CEOs make their voice heard on the major issues confronting the continent and the world?
  • The importance of women leaders: have changes in attitude globally affected Africa?

Speakers

(Closed session by invitation only)

According to the International Renewable Energy Agency, Africa needs annual investments of $70 billion to achieve hydroelectric, wind and solar capacity of 290 GW, which will make up 50% of total electricity generation, by 2030. Currently, the continent still falls far short of the mark: for solar energy, most of the projects that are emerging are small while, in terms of hydropower, the slow tendering process demoralizes even the most motivated stakeholders.  A further setback is that funders tend to be risk averse and are reluctant to make investments without subsidies. In this workshop, financiers, operators and energy ministers will develop concrete solutions to speed up the pace: financial innovation, OTC, better risk distribution, etc.

Gas: a $2000 bn opportunity

 

Mozambique, Ghana, Tanzania, Egypt, Angola, Ethiopia, Senegal, Morocco: gas discoveries on the continent are on the increase, with five of the world’s ten largest discoveries in 2016 found in Africa. For the first time, the continent has a natural resource at its disposal that could have a direct effect on its development. If the gas can be liquefied offshore for export, like oil, it can also boost electricity production at home and even play a role in making fertilizer. What are the best models for exploiting these deposits to optimize the economic benefits?

Key points:

  • Investment decisions are not keeping pace with gas discoveries: why?
  • What is the role of government in creating favorable conditions for investment?
  • ‘Gas to power’ or ‘Gas for fertilizer’: what conditions are needed to successfully exploit gas resources in these ways, given that they require large infrastructure investment?
  • The necessity of building transnational gas pipelines

Speakers

Financial inclusion: the digital revolution

 

Faced with the boom in smartphones around the world, the digital transformation of the global financial sector is well underway. But while mature banking sectors are weakened by this disruption, with the closure of 48,000 branches in eight years in Europe, and 7,000 in the United States, Africa has been handed a unique opportunity. It can radically increase the number of retail clients and target unbanked populations. Digital transformation is not just a matter of technology: it also calls for real changes in the culture and organization of the existing players, as well as evolutions in the regulatory sphere.

Key points:

  • How can we build organizations centered on their clients’ needs?
  • Preparing banks for the digital era and constructing a transformation agenda
  • How to adapt regulatory frameworks for the fintech revolution?
  • How best to use the potential of Big Data?

Speakers

(Closed session by invitation only)

How can digital transformation deliver impact?

 

Digital transformation can only deliver large-scale and positive outcomes if the continent’s private and public sector leaders first clearly analyze the benefits and improvements this change can bring to their citizens, customers or employees and the exact nature of the processes that must be put in place to achieve it. Springboarding off the successful experience of companies (finance, telecommunications, industry and mining) and governments, this workshop will discuss how to develop and follow a digital transformation roadmap.

From 13:45 to 15:15

 

As the foremost annual meeting of the private sector in Africa, the AFRICA CEO FORUM has also become an important setting for public-private dialogue. Participating in the “Doing Business” sessions gives CEOs and investors the opportunity to meet with high-level government officials of African countries to gain deeper insights into their economic development strategies. These conferences are designed to ease communication and dialogue with the official delegations on subjects ranging from the business environment to the most important public and private investment projects being implemented in the country.

Infrastructure: catch-up time

 

The African Development Bank’s latest report, published at the beginning of 2018, pushes the annual infrastructure financing deficit further into the red, to the tune of an estimated $70bn-$110bn. Backers, governments, and the private sector all agree on the imperative to act, so why is there still a large gap between needs and provision? Investors and businesses with a proven track record of bringing major projects to fruition give their solutions for making the African infrastructure dream a reality.

Key points:

  • Eligibility, approval, implementation, financing: what is blocking African infrastructure projects and what will move them forward?
  • Legal framework and political stability: what is the role of government?
  • What are the drivers of success for infrastructure projects in Africa?

Speakers

From 15:30 à 16:45

Health economy: finding a place for business

 

Health emergencies linked to Ebola and HIV, and the growing Non-Communicable Disease (NCD) burden caused by tobacco dependency, physical inactivity or unhealthy diets, have harmful consequences on Africa’s growth and development. While institutions and governments are engaging in universal health care provision, a considerable amount of work must be accomplished to develop high-quality health services that are both preventative and curative, and accessible to a broad spectrum of communities. What role can the private sector play in the face of these challenges? How can it help develop a dynamic health economy capable of generating jobs and investment?

Key points:

  • What are the opportunities for the private sector in the health economy?
  • ‘Universal health coverage’ in Africa: how to involve private businesses and entrepreneurs?
  • Health infrastructure, R&D, medical provisioning, e-health, technology: what role can the African private sector play?

Speakers

From 15h15 to 17h15

The content of this workshop is based on a decade of research conducted by McKinsey & Company on Centered Leadership. Centered Leadership aims at helping women become more self-confident and more effective business leaders. It is about having a well of physical, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual strength that drives personal achievement and, in turn, inspires others to follow.

(Closed session by invitation only)

How can governments grow the digital economy?

 

Government authorities have a key role to play in facilitating the emergence of a digital economy. Their mission does not only entail adopting and enforcing appropriate and effective regulations but also ensuring that existing infrastructure is leveraged for optimal utilization. The participants in this strategic workshop will work on ways to make governments and regulators true catalysts for digitalization, with the support of all sector players.

From 15:15 to 16:45

 

As the foremost annual meeting of the private sector in Africa, the AFRICA CEO FORUM has also become an important setting for public-private dialogue. Participating in the “Doing Business” sessions gives CEOs and investors the opportunity to meet with high-level government officials of African countries to gain deeper insights into their economic development strategies. These conferences are designed to ease communication and dialogue with the official delegations on subjects ranging from the business environment to the most important public and private investment projects being implemented in the country.

From 17:00 to 18:30

 

Backing tomorrow’s champions

 

Startups are the missing link in African innovation. While the number of young African companies is increasing, and incubators are springing up across the continent, venture capitalists are still few and far between. In 2016 only $366m was invested in African startups – a tenth of the figure for India. Will the recent creation of pan-African programs such as Boost Africa change the story? What will be the impact of the new Africa-centric funds? A look at how the future is shaping up for African startups…

Key points:

  • What are the results from 10 years of investment in African startups?
  • Can tech investment in Africa be profitable?
  • Are there opportunities beyond Nigeria, South Africa, and Kenya?

Startups competition

Building an African footprint

 

In a session moderated by the Boston Consulting Group, the CEOs of Tsebo – the pan-African leader in corporate services – and of Attijariwafa Bank will explain in practice how they drew up and implemented their corporate strategies in ten or more African countries. And how they tackled the logistical, cultural and human challenges that accompany such expansion. With intra-African investment accounting for only 17% of total investment, the opportunities for growth within the continent are still very high, making this essential listening for all stakeholders in the private sector.

BCG’s latest research investigates pioneering and entrepreneurial African and non-African companies at the avant-garde of regional integration. BCG identifies those with an exceptionally strong African footprint and analyse key success factors such as innovation, talent, and commitment to the continent.

Speakers

Agribusiness: rising to the competitiveness challenge

 

Private-sector investment in agriculture and agro-industry is rising in Africa. The figures speak for themselves: $3bn invested in palm oil production in Liberia, $2.3bn in eucalyptus plantations in Mozambique, $150bn in the Nigerian poultry industry. But international competitiveness still poses a challenge to the sector: the average cereal yield, for example, remains four times lower than in East Asia. Between rationalizing the cost of inputs, the use of new technology, seed improvement, and optimization of the cold chain, what are the winning strategies that will raise African agribusiness to international standards?

Key points:

  • How to reduce the cost of inputs, logistics, and energy?
  • Feed, varieties, seeds, mechanization, irrigation: strategies for improving yield
  • Intelligent agriculture and new technology: their role in raising competitiveness

Speakers

From 17:00 to 19:00

(Closed session by invitation only)

This private session will bring together officials from international organizations, CEOs and ministers of finance from G20 and Compact with Africa countries *. CwA is a public-private dialogue among participating countries, aiming to forge a way forward in encouraging greater investment in Africa. CwA was initiated by the German presidency and endorsed by the G20 finance ministers and central bank governors in March 2017. The aim is to develop comprehensive, coordinated, and country-specific investment compacts between individual African countries, international organizations, and other partners. Investment Compacts will specify measures and instruments to improve the macro, business and financing frameworks.

 

* Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Morocco, Rwanda, Senegal and Tunisia

SHAPING THE FUTURE OF AFRICA
26-27 March 2018
ABIDJAN

Subscribe to get the latest news about the Forum!