The publisher and founder of the African Leadership magazine, Dr Ken Giami, has called on all stakeholders in the Africa project, including non-African lovers of the continent, to join hands and build partnerships for Africa’s recovery and future growth. As the continent navigates the challenges arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.
He made the call when he hosted notable leaders around the world to the first ALM organized virtual Africa Summit on 25 June 2020. Dr Giami noted that ‘the World as we knew it may have changed forever. Therefore, as we adjust to the unfolding new normal, I call on all stakeholders of the Africa project to do the hard work and the smart work required, so we can build a resilient and sustainable pathway to Africa’s future’.
The 2020 summit, which is the 4th edition in the series, was organized as a virtual conference, with participation from over 65 countries, and 42 from Africa. Key speeches were delivered by, His Excellency Rt. Hon. Ambrose Dlamini, Prime Minister of Eswatini; Her Excellency Jewel Howard-Taylor, Vice President of Liberia; Her Excellency Patricia Scotland, Secretary-General of the Commonwealth; and Lord Dollar Popat, Member UK House of Lords and UK Prime Minister’s Envoy to Rwanda and Uganda.
With the theme set as ‘COVID-19: Pathways to Africa’s Economic Recovery and Future Growth’, the 2020 summit, which traditionally holds in London UK, is part of African Leadership magazine’s response to the debate on resetting Africa’s development priorities post-COVID-19.
Other discussants and panelists at the event included Sen. Manqoba Khumalo, Minister of Commerce & Trade, Kingdom of Eswatini; Hon. Hamat Bah, Minister of Culture & Tourism, The Gambia; Dr Christian Lindfeld, Managing Partner, Africa Advisors GmbH Germany; Dr Victor Oladdokun, Former Director of Communications, African Development Bank; Senyo Hosi, Chairman Ghana Chamber of Bulk Oil Distributors, Saul Frazer, CEO Global Properties, Gambia; and Professor Samuel Edoumiekumo, Dr Esther Muchemi CEO Samchi Group Kenya, among others.
Full text of his address is as below:
- I am pleased to welcome you all to this first ALM organized Virtual Africa Summit.
- Let me also specially recognize all our distinguished guests and participants, and all our speakers for today’s summit – the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, HE Rt. Hon. Patricia Scotland; HE Rt. Hon Ambrose Dlamini, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Eswatini (formerly Swaziland); HE Jewel Howard-Taylor, Vice President of the Republic of Liberia; Lord Dollar Popat and our impressive line up of panelists – government ministers, business leaders, and career professionals, that we will all get to meet in a moment. Thank you all for your love for Africa proven by being here today.
- We live today in unprecedented times. Our world, and indeed Africa, is dealing with monumental disruptions occasioned by COVID-19, troubling systemic racism coming up to the fore yet again, a looming economic meltdown and all the other peculiar challenges which our continent continues to grapple with – infrastructure and energy deficits; a youthful population desperate for jobs and opportunities; food insecurity caused by Locust-19, climate change and other trade barriers, and the list goes on.
- Our continent has never been as in need of solutions and leaders who will drive the process, and who sincerely care about the development and welfare of its people, as it does now. As the world continues to grapple with the threats arising from COVID-19, experts have projected that Africa may lose nearly $200 billion. A report by McKinsey on COVID-19’s economic impact finds that Africa’s GDP growth in 2020 could be cut by three to eight percentage points, with African economies potentially facing losses up to $200 billion in 2020 alone. Already, several small businesses have folded, or are on the verge of extinction, while others have lost about 60% of their revenue. Health systems have been overwhelmed, and most economies are already at the beginning of a free fall. These, therefore, calls for urgent attention.
- The Africa Summit, which traditionally holds annually in London United Kingdom, aims to galvanize bold ideas and unique African solutions towards addressing these challenges. The theme for today’s conversations have therefore been chosen as COVID-19: Pathways to Africa’s Economic Recovery and Future Growth, and hopefully we will rise from the summit and significantly contribute to the debate on resetting Africa’s development priorities post-COVID-19.
- Over the years, African Leadership magazine has invested in the conviction that Africans can lead themselves into peace, development and prosperity; and contribute their quota to global progress and prosperity for all. That is why we have made it our mission to not only discover and celebrate outstanding African leaders and institutions – who we count on to lead the change we seek, but we actively enable them to continue to inspire and lead effectively, so our world becomes a better place for all. We do this through our publications, our events and now through the formal presentation today of our newly minted Africa Business Leaders Council.
- The Africa Business Council is positioned as the continent’s foremost indigenous African-led business network helping business leaders, entrepreneurs and executives develop and deepen their African influence and networks, so as to fast-track their growth story and strengthen business impacts on the continent. We develop our members into the most admired, impactful, and influential business leaders and companies in the African business landscape. Our members are disruptors – companies and leaders, Africans and non-Africans, who define their own path, stand out and scale up rather than waiting for events or other people to shape them – all united by one trait, their love for the continent and its people.
- The council focuses on helping the continent’s present, and future business Icons expand their African presence, power and portfolio; with members becoming more visible, valuable and globally acclaimed, doing well by doing good, and using business as a force for global impact. The Council brings together leading entrepreneurs, business owners, company directors and businesses, creating a community of like-minded personalities who are shaping the future of the continent and are committed to forging an alliance for African progress. Membership is open to both business, corporate and policy leaders. Details on how to join shall be communicated to all participants during the course of this summit.
In closing my remarks, may I say again that this is a resurgent Africa, and all of us have a role to play in it. The World, as we knew it may have changed forever. Therefore, as we adjust to the unfolding new normal, I call on all stakeholders of the Africa project to do the hard work and the smart work required, so we build a resilient and sustainable pathway to Africa’s future. I look forward to robust discussions from our very experienced hands-on speakers, with tremendous experience on the home continent, during the summit today.
Once again, welcome, and thank you for listening.