Africa’s richest man‚ Aliko Dangote‚ together with investment banker Dr Enos Banda‚ Prof Pat Utomi‚ founder and CEO of the Centre for Values in Leadership‚ and Prof Nick Binedell‚ founding director of the Gordon Institute of Business Science‚ are just a few of the African business leaders who will headline the first annual African Business Leaders Forum (ABLF) event to be held in Johannesburg this year.
Scheduled to take place from December 9-12 at the Sandton Convention Centre‚ the high-level conference has already attracted some of Africa’s most prestigious and influential business leaders.
Participants will address key issues and explore opportunities for growth in various sectors including mining‚ infrastructure‚ ICT and agriculture.
The line-up will also include Angola’s Isabel dos Santos‚ South Africa’s Patrice Motsepe‚ Ethiopia’s Mohammed Al Amoudi‚ Kenyan businessman Chris Kirubi‚ as well as Folorunsho Alakija‚ the richest woman in Nigeria.
The conference will follow hot on the heels of a summit for Africa’s heads of state and the leadership of China‚ which will be held at the same venue.
The summit agenda is expected to include Africa’s trade relationships with China at political level. The forum event‚ on the other hand‚ will seek to debate business-related challenges in order to reach resolution to influence policies on intra-Africa trade.
Head of the ABLF initiative and entrepreneur‚ Ezra Ndwandwe‚ considers the forum a prime opportunity to discuss how African businessmen and women can engage in constructive debates with tangible outcomes around the advancement of intra-continental trade between African countries.
“Africa is host to the majority of the world’s 10 fastest growing economies‚ with more than $1.671-trillion of potential wealth that remains untapped‚” he said.
The last two days of the event will be dedicated to the youth chapter.
Ndwandwe believes that young businesspeople will seek to hold elders accountable for economic development. For the first time‚ African youth will determine their own business path for intra-Africa trade.
Younger speakers such as 25-year-old Sanele Makinane‚ winner of the second season of locally pioneered entrepreneurial reality TV show The Big Break Legacy‚ also feature on the programme. He will co-direct the youth chapter programme on the last two days of the forum (December 11-12) with 27-year-old Nigerian Prince Siddiq Fodio.
Fodio is a business partner in Zircon‚ the largest telecommunication equipment maker in the world and official distributor of Huawei. Currently‚ he is doing his Masters in International Business Management at Middlesex University in London.
“The inclusion of the youth and their contribution to building a thriving economy with innovative perspectives and concepts is essential at such a prestigious event‚” said Ndwandwe.
He said corporates with a passion for development in Africa were also key stakeholders of this forum.
“Stronger intra-continental trade will bring us one step closer to taking ownership of the African economic agenda.
“The ABLF has been structured in a way that it will encourage the kind of engagement and dialogue that is needed to spur the continent towards economic transformation. To that end‚ the forum is expected to come up with tangible and actionable resolutions.”
Ndwandwe said strong business guidance was imperative if the continent’s full potential is ever to be realised.
“The fact that Africa can produce inspiring‚ successful business leaders such as the ones featured in this forum‚ proves that this transformation is well within our reach.”
The event is expected to attract more than 2‚000 attendees from all over the continent.
“The main objective of the event is to acknowledge the need for change‚ start conversations around intra-continental trade and ultimately reinforce the idea that the continent has the ability to develop a competitive and thriving economy‚” said Ndwandwe.