Program 2023

From 300 to 3000: How to deliver the next generation of African champions

In recent years, the world has faced unprecedented crises, from bank failures and surging inflation to energy shortages and the concerns around the rapid development of AI. These disruptions have upended the world and led to fundamental shifts in global relations, with protectionism on the rise and global stability under threat.

Why should African leaders have to sit back and watch while foreign crises wreak havoc on their currencies and wider economies?

Since the AFRICA CEO FORUM was founded a decade ago, the notion that the private sector should be the engine of African growth has been firmly anchored in the minds of policy
makers. With the continent’s share of global FDI tripling over that period, the massive flows into logistics, infrastructure, agribusiness, financial services, real estate, and many other
high-performing sectors have unleashed African business champions; there are now over 300 African companies with billion-dollar turnovers

Read more about the programme presentation

    International Correspondent, CNN
    CEO, Jeune Afrique Media Group
    Managing Director, IFC
    President, Repubic of Ivory Coast
  • LEADERS VOICES | H.E. Patrick Achi & H.E. Aziz Akhannouch

    The Kingdom of Morocco and the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire are vying to play larger roles in global value chains. Morocco’s Head of Government Aziz Akhannouch’s signed a new Investment Charter in March 2023 while Côte d’Ivoire’s PM Patrick Achi recently engaged with US and Chinese leaders, as both seek to whip up post-COVID foreign investment. The countries also hope to bolster their economic sovereignty: Morocco via subsidies for local industrial production (Project Bank), and Côte d’Ivoire by mobilising domestic savings and improving private sector credit (2030 Plan). In an exclusive interview, the leaders discuss executing policies towards strategic autonomy amid inflation and significant global headwinds. 

    Director of publication, Jeune Afrique Media Group
    Prime Minister, Head of Government, Republic of Côte d'Ivoire
    Head of Government, Kingdom of Morocco
  • OPENING PANEL | From 300 to 3,000: Creating tomorrow’s champions of sovereignty, today

    Africa has nearly 300 companies with turnovers exceeding $1bn, compared to 2,700 in Europe and 3,300 in Asia. These firms play a major role in reinforcing strategic autonomy and increasing resilience, as seen with Pfizer in the United States during the Covid crisis and Eni in Italy during the gas crisis. African countries must create their own champions in agribusiness, energy, digital technology and other key sectors, based on their comparative advantage. How can the public and private sectors foster high-performing African multinationals through government strategies, partnerships and regional value chains? 

    Key points: 

    • Return of the state as a strategic actor 

    • Digitalisation, regional integration and infrastructure: How can we strengthen African value chains? 

    • From $100 million to $1 billion: What recipe is needed to scale up? 


    Senior Partner and Chairman, MCKINSEY & COMPANY, AFRICA
    International Correspondent, CNN
    Group CEO, Ecobank
    Vice President for Africa, IFC
    First Lady, Republic of Namibia
    President & CEO, Spectrum Group
  • INDUSTRY OUTLOOK | The scramble for Africa’s gas: Balancing domestic needs vs. lucrative exports

    While $95 billion in investment projects are underway in liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminals, only $53 billion is being invested in developing gas-fired power plants. Eager to capitalize on soaring prices, many African countries are adapting national energy development plans to meet international demand, particularly from Europe. How can Africa balance the need for universal access to electricity (52% of sub-Saharan Africans still lack electricity) with the windfall of export revenues? 

    Key points:

    • Financing: How to bridge the funding gap for domestic projects? 

    • Electricity market reforms, regional cooperation, small-scale projects: How to develop gas infrastructure? 

    • Building local content while remaining cost-effective: a delicate but necessary balance 

    Partner, EY
    Managing editor, The Africa Report
    CEO, Lekoil Nigeria Limited
    Vice-President Business development LNG, TotalEnergies
    Senior Vice-President Africa, Equinor
    Executive Secretary , Nigeria Content Development and Monitoring Board
    Minister of State, Minister of Energy and Renewable Energies, Republic of Niger
  • PANEL | Unlocking the potential of women-led startups in Africa

    In 2022, African female-led start-ups raised $188m (4% of start-up funding), while male-led ventures raised $4.6bn. Yet global women business owners’ scores and rankings demonstrate outstanding progress in Africa, notably in countries like Botswana, Uganda, and Ghana. In reality, most women entrepreneurs are unable to grow their businesses beyond small-scale subsistence operations due to poverty, discrimination, and lack of institutional support and fundings. Long-term solutions could lie in equipping entrepreneurs with access to funding, market opportunities, knowledge enhancement, and technical training. How can innovative and long term solutions be found to maximize the potential and inclusion of women entrepreneurs?   

    Key points: 

    • How can we gain a deep understanding of the socioeconomic factors that hinder or nurture the ability of African women entrepreneurs?   

    • What are some of the most innovative solutions to address the barriers and challenges that women-led startups face on the continent?  

    • What is the role of financiers, particularly DFIs, venture capital and private equity funds in supporting and increasing the numbers of women-led startups? 

    Journalist and TV Host, Medi1TV
    Vice President of Industries, IFC
    Co-founder, Yalla Fel Sekka
    CEO & Co-founder, Biotessia S.A.
    CEO, Dangote Foundation
    CEO and Co-Founder , Credails
    First Lady, Republic of Namibia
    Executive Vice-President, Humanitarian and Development, Mastercard
  • In the Dean's office: Shaping African talent to meet future private sector needs

    As African corporates become increasingly digital, complex and globally competitive, the challenge of talent acquisition has risen to the top of CEO’s agendas. While CEOs and CHROs the world over complain of talent shortages, the pressure has risen on higher education providers to equip the next generation with practical skills from tech- and financial-literacy to AI fluency and business acumen. This workshop, led by our three Deans, will seek to forge partnerships between corporates and educators, and to identify innovative ways of future-proofing the supply of exceptional local talent to meet the needs of Africa’s business champions.

    Advisory Partner, PWC
    Group Executive Vice President, Human Resources, Ecobank
    President, Mohammed VI Polytechnic University (UM6P)
    Dean, Lagos Business School
    Dean, Strathmore University Business School
    Minister of Technical Education, Republic of Ivory Coast
  • STRATEGIC ROUNDTABLE | Universal health coverage: What role should the private sector play?

    Access via sign-up on the event app or by invitation only.

    Apart from Rwanda, which boasts a coverage rate of over 90%, and despite various initiatives launched over the last decade in Cameroon, Senegal, and Ghana, Africa is struggling to achieve universal health coverage (UHC). While financing remains the major stumbling block, the private sector, which provides more than a third of outpatient care, could be instrumental in increasing per capita spend (currently $8-$129 in Africa) and making digital health more accessible. In this closed-door roundtable government representatives, industry and DFIs explore how the private sector could help achieve more inclusive healthcare.  

    Discussion points:  ​​

    • Public-private partnerships: Is it possible to achieve both affordable and quality UHC?  
    • From low-interest loans to tax and performance-based incentives: How can governments entice the private sector?  
    • Increasing patient trust and satisfaction for health systems: What levers can the private sector pull?
    • Achieving effective and secure health information-sharing systems 

    Director Health & Education, IFC
    President & Head, Sub-Saharan Africa, Novartis
    CEO, Cerba Lancet Afrique
    MANAGING PARTNER, Vital Capital
    Board Member, Redmed Group
    Minister of Health , Republic of Côte d'Ivoire

    As the foremost annual meeting of the private sector on the continent, the AFRICA CEO FORUM is the leading platform for public-private dialogue. ‘Invest In’ sessions allow CEOs and investors to meet with high-level African government officials to gain deeper insight into their countries’ economic development strategies. These sessions provide exposure to a variety of key sectors, business environments, and public and private investment opportunities. 

    Prime Minister, Head of Government, Republic of Côte d'Ivoire
    Senior Partner and Chairman, MCKINSEY & COMPANY, AFRICA
    Founder & CEO, COFINA
    Regional Director West Africa, IFC
    Chief Operating Officer – Natural Resources, ENI
    General Director, UNIWAX
    Minister of Economy and Finance, Republic of Ivory Coast
    Minister of Commerce, Industry and SME Promotion, Republic of Ivory Coast
    Sr VP, Regional Head, Olam Agri, Olam Agri
    Minister of Culture and Francophonie, Republic of Ivory Coast
  • CONVERSATION WITH | Samaila Zubairu & Guido Brusco

    The energy deficit remains the main obstacle to business growth in Africa, with per capita energy consumption almost 10 times lower than in the US. Yet, despite the continent’s low carbon footprint, global resolutions to combat climate change threaten to limit access to foreign investment in African energy (excluding renewables), which risks slowing Africa’s industrialisation. In an exclusive interview, Samaila Zubairu, President & CEO of AFC, one of the main African financiers of energy infrastructure and Guido Brusco, COO Natural Resources of Eni, one of the world’s largest energy companies, discuss how Africa can achieve a transition that is both climate-friendly and economically ambitious. 

    Managing editor, The Africa Report
    President & CEO, Africa Finance Corporation
    Chief Operating Officer – Natural Resources, ENI
  • LEADERS VOICE | H.E Macky Sall & Abdul Samad Rabiu

    Senegal’s President H.E Macky Sall’s Emerging Senegal Plan, combined with increased rice, oil and gas production and regional initiatives such as the $700m OMVG Energy Project (involving Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau) are set to help Senegal’s 2023 real GDP growth surpass the SSA average. BUA Group chairman Abdul Samad Rabiu has in turn sought to strengthen Nigeria’s food self-sufficiency and deepen intra-African trade links by ramping up rice, sugar, and edible oil production capacity and investing in critical road infrastructure ($250m Kano-Kazue-Kongolam highway project). The Nigerian industrialist and Senegalese leader discuss next steps for the private sector to defy import dependence and ignite African integration. 

    Editor-in-chief , The Africa Report
    President , Republic of Senegal
    Chairman & CEO, BUA Group
  • PANEL | From 300 to 3000: Successful generational transitions in African family businesses

    Family businesses are vital to African economies and should be at the heart of strategies to develop African champions. As well as supporting growth and development, one of the key factors for family businesses is a smooth transition between generations. However, only 24% of family businesses are currently focused on involving the next generation in succession planning. In these times of polycrisis, the next generation can bring flexibility, innovation and a fresh perspective. How can they find their place in the family business? What are the key factors for a smooth succession?  

    Key points

    • Passing the baton: How can generations best communicate and collaborate to ensure the future of their family business?   

    • How can governments encourage fast and flexible transitions from one generation to the next? 

    • Advice, openness: What role can those outside the family play in implementing a succession plan? 

    Family Business Director, AFRICA CEO FORUM
    Director of Strategy, Groupe Supdeco Dakar
    President, CTC GROUP
    CEO, Unique Group
    Co-CEO, Groupe NJS Cameroun
    Managing Partner, Amethis
    Deputy Group Chief Executive, Ciel Ltd.

    Limited number of places. Registration via the Forum App only.

    During these roundtables, governments and national investment promotion agencies will present before a select group of investors and business leaders a number of impactful public-private partnership projects for stimulating economic development. Covering a range of sectors, including urban planning & smart cities, transport and housing, the roundtables provides an up-close look at some exciting projects.

  • PANEL | How can Africa create a circular economy for plastics?

    Without radical change, plastic pollution is expected to triple by 2050 and account for 19% of global CO2 emissions. In Africa, where 165m tons of plastic will reach its end of life in the next ten years, this pollution comes with a considerable economic and social cost. The private sector is at the forefront of the transition to a circular economy, which could create 700,000 jobs and nearly $4.5 trillion in direct and indirect savings globally by 2040. How can African businesses and governments support the transition to a circular economy for plastics?   

    Key points:  

    • Cost of sustainable packaging, lack of waste collection and processing infrastructure: What options are available for companies producing and using plastics?  

    • Regulatory measures, DFI support: How can the circular economy of plastics be encouraged on the continent?   

    • Global treaty on plastic pollution (2024): Incorporating the African private sector’s expectations 

    Journalist and TV Host, Medi1TV
    Vice President of Industries, IFC
    CEO, BanQu
    Prime Minister, Republic of São Tomé and Príncipe
    Executive Director, UN Environment Programme (UNEP)
    Minister of the Environment and Sustainable Development, Republic of Ivory Coast
    Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian Bottling Company
  • FUTURE OF BUSINESS | Revolutionising Africa’s core industries

    During this unique session, five of the continent’s most promising start-up CEOs predict the future of business. Through a series of 15-minute dynamic and interactive keynote speeches, they will help us imagine what the future might hold for their respective sectors. 

    • Can AI-based agricultural solutions help overcome food insecurity in Africa? 

    • To what extent can off-grid solar systems solve power distribution problems? 

    • Can Africa become a health technology powerhouse?  

    • Finance: Is bank dominance coming to an end?  

    • Will AfCFTA’s success hinge on e-logistics? 

    Founder, Tech Safari
    Senior Vice-President for Sub-saharan Africa, Visa
    CEO, Copia Global
    CEO, mPharma
    CEO, Trella
    CEO, Daystar Power
    CEO & co-founder, Releaf

    As the foremost annual meeting of the private sector on the continent, the AFRICA CEO FORUM is the leading platform for public-private dialogue. ‘Invest In’ sessions allow CEOs and investors to meet with high-level African government officials to gain deeper insight into their countries’ economic development strategies. These sessions provide exposure to a variety of key sectors, business environments, and public and private investment opportunities. 

    Managing Partner, Mazars Maroc
    Minister delegated to the Head of Government, Kingdom of Morocco
    General Manager, AMDIE
    Regional Director for North Africa and Horn of Africa, IFC
    CEO, Casablanca Finance City Authority
    President, CGEM
    CEO, Pharma 5 Laboratoires
    Managing Director, JESA
    Managing Director, Nestlé Morocco
  • STRATEGIC ROUNDTABLE | Population, development: Are new cities the right answer?

    Access via sign-up on the event app or by invitation only.

    From Kenya to Senegal, new city projects are spreading fast across the continent to meet the needs of rapid urbanisation, provide sustainable infrastructure, and offer better quality public services. But while Diamniadio (Senegal) and New Cairo (Egypt) are roughly on track, many projects are behind schedule, with works on Eko Atlantic (Nigeria) having started over 15 years ago. Critics also warn that the projects are aimed at a privileged few, and that occupancy rates are proving disappointing. This roundtable of urban planners, governments, and the private sector explores how to make new city projects a suitable response to Africa’s urban planning challenges.  

    Discussion points:  

    • Diamniadio, Eko Atlantic, New Cairo: What can be learned from these projects?  

    • Is the smart-city concept a viable solution to unchecked urbanisation?    

    • Financial closure, occupancy rates: How can stakeholders overcome the inherent challenges?    

    • Affordability, economic and social impact: How can new cities become more affordable? 

    Transformation & Technology Leader, Pwc Afrique Francophone Subsaharienne
    Managing Director Middle-East, Northern Africa & Turkey, Alstom SA
    CEO, Mitrelli Group Swiss AG
    CEO Africa, Yango
    Managing Director, APIX
    Managing Director, Sertem Property Management
    Vice-President Public Relations Mediterranean region, Huawei
    Minister-Advisor for Investment, Presidency of Benin
  • The Africa Business Leaders Coalition (ABLC) Meeting, by UN Global Compact

    By Invitation only

    The Africa Business Leaders Coalition (ABLC) is a pan-African private sector Coalition launched by the UN Global Compact in 2022, with the vision to amplify the voice of African Business Leaders, and their ecosystems, on the continent’s most pressing issues. The Coalition involves 55+ companies representing USD 150B and over 900,000 employees, who came together in signing the ABLC Climate Statement at COP27, with commitments and calls to action on climate. The agenda of this invitation-only Regional Convening will involve demonstrating progress on the Climate Statement, discussions on implementation and areas requiring acceleration, reflections on the global climate landscape, and networking. 

    Managing Director & Senior Partner, BCG
  • INDUSTRY OUTLOOK | From mining to batteries: Moving up the mining value chain

    Africa earns barely 10-15% of revenues generated by global value chains from its mineral resources. Amid a rush for metals in the energy transition, African countries are now aiming to move from cash to industrialised economies. From Guinea to Zambia and the DRC, initiatives aimed at promoting local processing are proliferating. But the conditions to achieve this are not always present, such as good governance, access to energy and transport, respect for ESG criteria, cross-border partnerships and trust with the private sector. How can stakeholders succeed and ensure these criteria are met?

    Key points:  

    • Local processing: Is there finally the political will and strategic vision?  

    • Transport, energy, ESG criteria: Meeting the necessary conditions   

    • Partnerships between countries: How can nations build intra-African value chains? 

    Editor, Africa Business+
    Senior Partner, EY
    Vice-President Sales & Business Development, Karpowership
    Chairman of the Board, Gécamines
    CEO, Endeavour Mining
    Minister of Mines, Petroleum and Energy, Republic of Ivory Coast
    CEO, Compagnie Minière du Bafing (CMB)
  • FINANCE | Debt, inflation, currency shocks: Resetting sustainable financial terms

    The consequences of the Russia-Ukraine conflict and a global banking crisis have raised fresh concerns about the sustainability of sovereign debt across African countries. Public debt in Africa reached 65% of GDP in 2022 versus 33% in 2010. Eurobond issuance has fallen due to high interest rates and depreciation of local currencies (by more than 70% in Ghana, Sierra Leone, and Egypt between 2013 and 2022) creating liquidity challenges and difficult debt roll-overs. What measures should be implemented to restore sustainable macroeconomic stability? What role could the private sector – banks, DFIs and capital markets – play?

    Key points: 

    • Exposure to external shocks: How to structurally mitigate inflation, interest rates and liquidity drying up? 

    • Foreign currency exposure, debt obligations, and trade finance limitations: Innovative mechanisms to foster economic transformation  

    • Financial stability: Growing the tax base to increase macroeconomic resilience and sustainability   

    Business Journalist, CGTN/Bloomberg
    Vice-President Senior Credit Officer, Moody's
    CEO, TCX Investment Management Company
    Professor, University of Cape Town
    Director African Department, International Monetary Fund
    CEO, SF Capital
  • FAMILY BUSINESS | Succession planning: Shaping governance for the long term

    For family businesses only.

    Only a third of family businesses have a clear and established succession plan. However, all family businesses that thrive over generations must have well-structured and robust governance. Such governance is key for longevity and growth, and enables clear processes, stability of the company shareholdings, and provides ways to overcome internal conflict. During this workshop, family business owners and managers will learn how to develop family governance, such as defining the family’s strategic vision, formalising decision-making and discussion processes within the family, and developing succession plans.  

    Associate Director, KPMG
  • PANEL | Geopolitics of food security: Securing agricultural value chains

    Thirty-three African countries import at least 90% of their wheat while, without Russian fertilizers, the continent risks losing 30% of its crops in 2023. Despite Moroccan group OCP’s commitment to cover the continent’s entire fertiliser needs this year, supply disruptions and record price hikes due to the conflict in Ukraine could plunge 5m Africans into food insecurity by the end of 2023. To cope with a population boom and secure agricultural value chains, Africa must increase its productivity and climate resilience, develop its rural infrastructure and strengthen intra-African trade. But how can the continent overcome current constraints to achieve food sovereignty? 

    Key points:  

    • Productivity, quality and sustainability: How can African agricultural systems be structured to bolster food security and resilience?  

    • Financing: What solutions should IFIs and DFIs provide to countries and the private sector?  

    • Strategic stocks, AfCFTA: Promoting regional responses to anticipate crises. 

    Business Journalist, Arise Media Group
    Partner, Mckinsey & Company
    President, AGL
    Managing Director, Proparco
    Head, Partnerships, AGRA
    CEO, Indorama Eleme Fertilizers and Chemicals Limited
    Vice President for Africa, IFC
  • CEO Talk | From 300 to 3,000: The road to one billion in revenue

    There are just 345 companies in Africa with revenues over $ 1 billion. Compare that to Asia (3,341), the USA and Canada (1,585), or Europe (2,752), and it becomes clear that Africa’s companies are leaving money on the table. What do all these companies have in common? They have cracked code to exponential returns: fast and sustained growth, and a high return on invested capital. For this CEO Talk, we have asked leaders who have reached the magic milestone and business executives of future African champions to discuss what it takes to reach a billion-dollar revenue. 

    Key points:

    • Winning value propositions, strategic alliances, marquee customers: recipes for exponential growth 

    • National champions means national backing: the role of industrial policy as an enabler 

    • Beyond borders: lessons for African companies with international ambitions 

    TV Host, Arise Media Group
    Group Chief Executive, Transnet SOC
    Chairman, Vista Group Holding
    CEO, Axian Group
    Managing Director & CEO, Africa Re
  • STRATEGIC ROUNDTABLE | Decarbonising Africa's construction industry: Now or never?

    Access via sign-up on the event app or by invitation only.

    The construction industry accounts for 32% of energy-related CO2 emissions in Africa. Yet its climatic impact could be mitigated thanks to sustainable buildings, with investment opportunities estimated at nearly $770 billion by 2030. These buildings typically achieve higher sales premiums and attract more tenants. But their adoption is being hampered by the additional costs involved (5-12%), an absence of environmental standards, and lack of local technical know-how. In this closed-doors roundtable, representatives from government, DFIs and industry discuss ways to accelerate the industry’s decarbonisation.  

    Discussion points: 

    • Regulatory frameworks: What codes, standards and certifications should apply to sustainable building design and operations?  

    • Strengthening capacity for those involved in design, construction and financing of sustainable buildings  

    • Financing:  Which sources and products can stimulate growth in the green buildings market? 

    • Cement, steel, bricks: How to stimulate low-carbon building material production? 

    Group Executive Director, BUA Group
    Manager, Manufacturing Investments Africa Region, IFC
    Managing Director, Sertem Group
    CEO, Salam Cement
  • INDUSTRY OUTLOOK | Infrastructure financing: How to cope with the credit crunch?

    Private sector infrastructure investments fell 17% YOY in 2022, depriving African projects of essential resources. Nearly half of countries on the continent are now at high risk of over-indebtedness, with larger portions of national budgets being used to service debt, to the detriment of certain investments. Inflation and the rising cost of credit also endanger project profitability, leaving traditional lenders reluctant to invest. To attract new financing and pursue infrastructure policies, governments must be creative. From reforms and recycling of existing assets to financial innovations and climate finance, what are the solutions to mitigate the drying up of credit? 

    Key points: 

    • Ownership rules, market access, repatriation of foreign exchange: How to attract private sector investors through regulatory reforms?  

    • Financing new projects with existing infrastructure: The case for asset-recycling  

    • Sovereign risks: Can private investors do without guarantees? 

    Vice-President Senior Credit Officer, Moody's
    Regional Industry Director Infrastructure & Natural Resources, Africa, IFC
    CEO, Ellipse Projects
    Managing Director and Head of Africa, BII
    Managing Director Head Capital Markets & Structured Finance Group Sub-Saharan Africa, Société Générale