The Concordia Africa Initiative provided a platform for cross-sector leaders to share strategies and priorities for African economic growth, to promote innovative cross-sector and public-private partnerships in Africa, and to build connections and identify opportunities to create lasting prosperity on a rapidly-changing and demographically-growing continent. The initiative was shaped and driven by local stakeholders in order to build sustainable and scalable alliances among the government, private sector, and civil society.
Concordia Africa was officially launched at the 2018 Concordia Annual Summit in New York, where our programming served as a framework to guide evolving discussions around the African continent and foster a community of partnership-oriented stakeholders. Speakers at the summit included President Paul Kagame of Rwanda and President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana, and Strategic Dialogue sessions included discussions on youth employment and entrepreneurship, and financial inclusion, technology, and data analysis. Finally, Concordia awarded its 2018 Leadership Award to two remarkable African leaders: Her Excellency Monica Geingos, First Lady of Namibia, and Strive Masiyiwa, Founder & Executive Chairman of Econet Wireless.
12:30pm - 1:30pm RegistrationFloor 1
1:30pm - 1:40pm Introductory RemarksFloor 1
1:40pm - 2:10pm 21st Century Investment in AfricaFloor 1
With the youngest population in the world, and one that will dominate global population growth between now and 2050, Africa presents one of the most interesting demographic stories of the 21st century. With immense opportunities both socially and economically, it is imperative that the global community view African opportunity through the lens of investment rather than aid, with high rates of return, noteworthy economic resilience, and a strong tide of digital innovation across the continent. This conversation will explore broadly what it means to invest in Africa in the 21st century across industries from education to infrastructure, and how to keep African agendas central to the investment story of the continent moving forward.
2:10pm - 2:20pm Applying Manufacturing Best Practices for African Economic DevelopmentFloor 1
Applying Manufacturing Best Practices for African Economic Development
2:20pm - 2:40pm African-Led Philanthropy: Recasting the Aid-Dependent NarrativeFloor 1
Though official development assistance (ODA) retains a larger footprint in Africa than local private philanthropy, African-led philanthropy has been making substantial strides throughout key policy areas, including education, entrepreneurship, health, financial inclusion, and others. This trend reflects growing prioritization of solutions that place African civil society groups, philanthropists, and social innovators in a central position to stimulate social and economic progress. Despite robust economic growth in a number of countries, there are still significant development gaps moving forward which African philanthropy is uniquely situated to address. This session will explore the ways in which African philanthropists and corporate foundations can advance meaningful innovations and cross-sector partnerships to create social impact across the continent, focusing on best practices and the opportunities that exist for future philanthropic engagement.
2:40pm - 3:00pm Business for Social Good: Community Development on a Macro LevelFloor 1
Business for Social Good: Community Development on a Macro Level
3:00pm - 3:20pm Transforming Intra-African Trade and Trading InfrastructureFloor 1
With intra-African trade accounting for less than three percent of global trade, there is growing political support for enhancing regional integration on the continent. Founded in 1993, the African Export-Import Bank was created to specifically facilitate trade finance, but now with over $12 billion in assets, also focuses on export development finance and emergency programs. The formation of the African Continental Free Trade Area in 2018 has further prioritized boosting intra-African trade. This session will highlight the African Export-Import Bank’s critical perspective on trade and investments across the continent, while exploring the role of technology and innovation in this transformation, as well as sustainable methods of attracting domestic and global financing to further develop the continent’s trading infrastructure.
3:30pm - 4:00pm Coffee & Tea BreakFloor 1
4:00pm - 4:05pm Remarks
4:05pm - 4:15pm Remarks: Angolan Minister of TradeFloor 1
Remarks: Angolan Minister of Trade
4:15pm - 4:30pm Sustainable Investments: A Conversation with Cherie Blair CBE, QCFloor 1
Sustainable investment has evolved from a niche within investment circles to a mainstream practice of governments, investors, businesses, and communities seeking high performing opportunities. This shift reflects a growing recognition that strategic planning that integrates environmental, social, and governance factors is critical to ensuring long-term financial returns and avoiding commercial, operational, and legal risks. This session will consider both the new normal of investments in an African context, and also how stronger stakeholder engagement can play a role in maintaining stable investments.
4:30pm - 4:40pm Reimagining Africa: 5 Policy Puzzles Shaping the Continent’s FutureFloor 1
By the year 2050, Africa will have the largest workforce in the world. By then, one in every four people in the world will be from Africa. Its population will surpass India and China and will play a major role in the global economy, both in terms of production and consumption. In simple terms, Africa will simply be too big to ignore. Yet, the continent is not industrialised and its demographic bulge could either be a huge boom or disaster.
Ronak Gopaldas, a political economist, “pracademic” and director at Signal Risk, will explore the five major policy conundrums that need to be resolved if the continent is to prosper. In the context of Africa’s most urgent priority — inclusive growth — how these dilemmas are reconciled will be crucial in shaping the continent’s fortunes.
4:40pm - 4:55pm Trend Forecasting: A Conversation with First Lady Monica GeingosFloor 1
As a market that has played a major role in driving African economic growth, the private equity industry continues to expand, strengthen alternative financing mechanisms, and facilitate domestic investment opportunities. This session will showcase a unique perspective on the keys to enabling African private equity markets to advance critical development priorities, such as sustainable growth, supporting small-medium enterprises, and skills development. Drawing on H.E. Monica Geingos’ rich experience in private equity and the public sector, this session will also explore the important realm of public-private sector collaboration as it relates to facilitating, growing, and steering robust private equity markets in African countries.
4:55pm - 5:15pm Sustainable Special Economic Zones: Partnerships for Industrial Development and Job CreationFloor 1
As conversations on creating jobs across Africa continue, one solution that has gained particular traction is finding ways to better support large-scale industrial development. This session will highlight ways in which innovative partnerships can link industrialization with private sector investment, entrepreneurship and upskilling, and ultimately job creation. It will also explore how these economic priorities can be synced up with environmental ones, emphasizing how industry can be supported alongside strong sustainability practices. A particular conversation point will revolve around how successful examples of sustainable industrialization can be scaled.
5:15pm - 5:40pm Asian-African Ties in Investment, Trade, and InfrastructureFloor 1
Over the last several decades, the economic rise of Asia has led to significant new trade and foreign investment opportunities for African countries. Growing engagement from countries like China, Japan, India, South Korea, and Singapore has greatly altered the development financing environment in Africa. This session will document and assess best practices for African countries and companies to leverage these new opportunities, and make important headway on infrastructure development, skills and technological development, regulatory policy, and sustainability.
5:40pm - 7:00pm Cocktail ReceptionSpeakeasy
Former President, Federal Republic of Nigeria
Youth Representative, Global Education Monitoring Report, UNESCO
Senior Partner at Mohammed Muigai Advocates; Chairman of the Board of Directors, Central Bank of Ken...
First Lady of the Republic of Namibia
Minister of Trade, Republic of Angola
CEO, Made in Africa Initiative
Director, Signal Risk
A continent of tremendous population growth and a burgeoning youth demographic, leaders across Africa face a complex challenge: how can they ensure the needs, agency, and dignity of young people are being prioritized and collaboratively supported by the private sector, public sector, and other organizations across the continent? Africans are grappling with difficult questions, such as how to technically train young professionals for rapidly-changing industries, how to create meaningful jobs, and how to lighten the obstacles towards paths in entrepreneurship and enterprise. Within this is the imperative to improve affordability and access to quality education and training. These challenges will require enabling disruptive solutions, supporting necessity-driven entrepreneurship, utilizing sound regulatory policy, and a willingness to question conventional models. Prioritizing youth employment and entrepreneurship will unlock major economic growth on the continent, but transcending siloes and promoting broader regional integration across organizational, sectoral, and national lines will be vital to success.
With increasing digitalization of services, significant innovation from the telecommunications sector, and access to abundant resources, Africa is undergoing a technological transformation. From basic priorities like promoting greater internet access to complex challenges like pushing telecommunications companies, banks, infrastructure operators, and governments to work collaboratively to improve affordability, this transformation poses both challenges and opportunities for financial inclusion across the continent. Further, it raises the critical question of how regulatory frameworks across the continent can be improved and harmonized to better support the multiple dimensions of financial inclusion—such as payments, credit, savings, and insurance—and steer technological innovation in the right direction.
Over the last several decades, the economic rise of Asia has led to significant new trade and foreign investment opportunities for African countries. While sources of international development assistance remain important for the continent, the emerging engagement from countries like China, Japan, India, South Korea, and Singapore has greatly altered the development environment in Africa, as Asian countries and companies invest in infrastructure projects, skills and technological development, and trade with African countries. As foreign financing of African nations becomes increasingly more competitive with western multi-laterals, it’s important to document and assess best practices to ensure African development priorities align with sustainable economic development.