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The first session of the CEO Dialogue Forum kicks off

More than 500 CEOs from Africa and beyond meet virtually to discuss the continent’s growth

NAIROBI AND JOHANNESBURG, 11 AUGUST 2020 – With Africa and the world facing major challenges during the pandemic, more than 500 CEOs from across 37 countries in Africa and beyond met virtually last week to discuss issues affecting the continent’s growth. Strathmore University Business School partnered with Shared Value Initiative Africa to host the first session of the CEO Dialogue on 6 August 2020, themed ‘The Future of Work and the Impact of the Digital Economy on Africa’s Growth.’

The African continent is a 1.2 billion-person market and is home to the world’s largest free-trade zone. It further offers human and natural resources that have the potential to yield inclusive growth and to wipe out poverty in the region, enabling Africans across the continent to live healthier and more prosperous lives.

According to the World Bank, these vast opportunities are tempered by persistent gaps in education, health, and skills, which have Africa only reaching forty percent of its estimated potential. Additionally, conflict, food insecurity, population growth, and the disruptive forces of climate change threaten to curtail or even reverse the progress made over the past decades.

The discussion was spearheaded by a team of expert panelists drawn from different sectors:

  • Vincent Ogutu, Vice-Chancellor Designate Strathmore University
  • Alan Stoga, Chairman of the Tallberg Foundation
  • Cezanne Maherali, Head of Policy, Uber-sub-Saharan Africa
  • Bitange Ndemo, Associate Professor, University of Nairobi
  • Antoine Sebera, Government Chief Innovation Officer, Rwanda
  • James Wambugu for Group CEO UAP Group

Alan Stoga, Chairman of the Tallberg Foundation, emphasised that Africa has a great, unused potential to grow faster in the future of work. “Africa has a unique opportunity to grow faster than any other region in the future of work, but only if the continent is willing to operate at maximum capacity. There are opportunities for growth everywhere you look in Africa, but the continent is moving very slowly; there is a need to pick up the pace,” he said.

In 2019, 60% of Africa’s population was under 25 years, making it the world’s youngest continent. Africa’s growing youth population offers enormous growth potential. Delegates at the Dialogue argued that it was our collective responsibility to shape the future and ensure that the benefits of development reach every African. To start shaping this future is improvements, the focus should be on education on the continent. This will put Africa and especially the youth in a more advantageous position than the generations before, offering them better conditions for advancing human capital.

Speaking during the session, Vincent Ogutu Vice-Chancellor Designate, Strathmore University, highlighted the education sector as one of the most critical players in the future of work.

“More than half of Africa’s population is young, meaning that most people are in school. Thus the role of the education sector in shaping perspectives for this youthful population,“ he said. “The Covid-19 pandemic exposed all the fragilities in the African education system; it is time the sector embraces the digital future. There is no turning back now. A good number of educational institutions in Africa, from pre-school up to tertiary levels, have been paralysed by the Covid-19 pandemic hence the need to rethink the future of education.”

The CEO Dialogue Forum is a joint initiative of the Strathmore University Business School through the Executive Education Department and Shared Value Africa Initiative that seeks to connect leaders across Africa and provide a platform for African leaders to deliberate on the issues affecting their economies.

During this uncertain and complex environment, will focus on supporting business leaders navigate through, thrive, and develop turnaround strategies during and post COVID-19.

The SBS Executive Education Department offers a host of leadership and management courses aimed at providing professional and personal development across different cadres. During this uncertain and complex environment, our main focus is supporting business leaders to navigate through, thrive, and develop turnaround strategies during and post COVID-19.

The second session of the CEO Dialogue Forum is scheduled for 3rd September 2020 with the theme ‘Emerging Challenges and Opportunities for Financial Markets’.