Doing business in Africa

Posted On Thursday, 19 August 2004 02:00 Published by
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18 Aug 2004 : In a bid to boost optimism around the economic future of Africa, the UCT Graduate School of Business (GSB) is hosting a conference next month to address the broader issues around doing business in Africa.

 Loyiso Mbabane

The conference, which is the first of its kind in South Africa to be hosted by a business school, is designed to help governments, business and other stakeholders reflect on how business is conducted in Africa and encourage more investment and trade in the region.

Conference organiser Loyiso Mbabane, a Senior Lecturer at the GSB, said that the conference is all about transformation.

“We want to facilitate transformation in the manner in which business is conducted in Africa and at the same time to throw more light on the opportunities that exist in this very rich continent of ours,” he said.

“As a teaching and research institution, we are also keen to encourage a better understanding of African economies, with a view to playing a central role in the growth of the continent, from a business point of view.”

Mbabane said that while conferences of this ilk are often held internationally, the most notable being the annual Harvard Africa Business Conference, universities in South Africa are not following the trend. This, he says, is indicative both of the huge potential of Africa for business and inherent afro-pessimism in South African institutions.

“It is time that this situation was changed,” he said." And as one of the leading business schools in Africa we need to be spearheading that change. One of the most appropriate ways in which we can make a contribution to our continent and new democracy is to host and facilitate a conference of this nature. ”

The conference, which is expected to attract delegates from across Africa, will unpack the risks and returns of doing business in Africa as well as the logistics and practicalities of investing in or opening a business in the region. The different requirements of specific sectors including mining, financial services, retail and consumer goods, and media and telecommunications will be highlighted. Key success factors and growth flash points in each of these sectors will be also be explored.

A formidable panel of speakers has been assembled to talk on the varied means by which they and their organisations have achieved success in African markets. The line up includes Miko Rwayitare from Telecel International, who is credited with cornering the cell-phone market in the Congo, Sir Sam Johah, President of AngloGold Ashanti who was bestowed an honorary knighthood by the Queen of England in recognition of his success in building the mining industry in Africa, and Lumkile Mondi, Chief Economist at the Industrial Development Corporation.

There will also be valuable input from keynote speaker Professor Wiseman Nkuhlu, Chairperson of the NEPAD Steering Committee and economic advisor to President Mbeki, who is one of the kingpins in the development of the new African growth framework.

“Our hopes are that the event will be both useful and inspiring,” says Mbabane. “We need to develop a more optimistic approach to doing business in Africa. Optimism breeds success.”

Last modified on Wednesday, 16 April 2014 17:57

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