On May 24 2019 in Nairobi, Kenya – in front of about attendees from the business community of 18 countries – we announced that we would be hosting the 2020 Africa Shared Value Leadership Summit in Kigali, Rwanda. Why Rwanda, we were asked? We explained: after many discussions and having looked at our beautiful continent, we wanted to provide an example of a real success story to our community. What better example than Rwanda? Little did we know at the time that a global crisis was part of our future and that it would change our world forever.
In January and February, after attending meetings in Kenya, Rwanda and Zimbabwe, we were still on track to deliver the summit in Kigali. Then, in March, the border closing announcements started. During March we started investigating moving to a virtual summit; on 2 April we shared this with our Shared Value Africa Initiative Steering Committee and a week later with our Rwanda partners and sponsors. It was not a decision that was taken lightly. However, we as the Shared Value Africa Initiative knew how important it was to share conversations on how we could work together to recover after the pandemic and, together, to inspire and motivate each other to invent the future we wanted.
We re-curated out content. We had to bring the elephant in the room, COVID-19, into our discussions as it is had affected each and every one of us. Our Shared Value week focused on different sectors. We knew that we had to provide choices for our community, as people were not going to sit in front of their computers for four days.
Judging by the feedback, we delivered by all accounts a very successful 2020 Africa Shared Value Leadership Virtual summit. It was beyond our dreams and an enormous risk, but we felt that there was a higher power working with us as the conversations were so needed to provide hope and inspiration for the future. Across the four days of the event, we had more than 2,600 people bouncing in and out. Through our partners and the media build-up to the summit we were able to deliver more than USD 2 million of media value to our sponsors. The feedback has been humbling. However, this could not have happened without the dedication of our teams. From Event Options, thank you Larna and team; from Keystone Productions, thank you Justin and team; and to the Shift team – Vuyo, Rachel, Mariette, Michelle and Candice – thanks for making this happen.
The eSummit sessions will be on our Youtube channel from 29 June 2020.
Last but definitely not least, a huge note of appreciation and thanks to our sponsors who were prepared to take the risk with us: Old Mutual, Abbott and KCB Group. Thank you to our partners who helped to build the awareness of the esummit: JCDecaux, SAFM, CNBC Africa and our Rwanda partners RDB, RCB and PSD. In addition, our thanks go out to every single person who attended our first ever Shared Value virtual summit. We appreciate your participation, and we hope that the esummit provided some insights and inspiration to start or grow your Shared Value Journey.