January 31 - February 1// Georgetown University // Washington DC

africabusinessconference@georgetown.edu

GTABC 2020 Speakers & Panels

Leading the Conversation

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Speakers

GTABC will feature keynote speeches from business leaders, artists and policy makers and business leaders helping to drive growth and reframe narratives across the Continent. 

 
 
 
 
 

Panels

GTABC will feature keynote speeches from business leaders, artists and policy makers and business leaders helping to drive growth and reframe narratives across the Continent. 

 
 

Energy & Infrastructure | Lohrfink Auditorium |11:50 - 12:50

Africa’s energy and infrastructure industries continue to play catch-up with the rest of the world. Panelists will share perspectives on how these nation-building sectors are, or should be, evolving to take advantage of the CFTA, ways to tackle the stark imbalances in energy production and consumption between member countries, and regulatory, financial, or operational innovations around barriers to efficiently scaling low- to no-carbon energy solutions that meet the demands of an increasingly urban population.

Key Questions:

How do players in these sectors plan to leverage opportunities and address challenges in an open African market? What does African energy production and supply look like for a big market?

Financing Growth | Hariri 240 | 11:50 - 12:50

The CFTA is expected to increase market efficiency and ease/accelerate investment flows. However, just as only a few countries are well-placed to benefit from an open market, many businesses are not positioned to enjoy its value. Panelists will share their take on how domestic banks, institutional and private investors, and regulators approach intra-regional development and investment financing at scale. Discussions will focus on the new financing models and regulations that is required in response to the expected integration of new industries, and proliferation of small-to-medium businesses and capital projects.

Key Questions:

What restructuring is needed to create an environment where investors can efficiently finance billion-dollar infrastructure projects and new business models spanning several markets simultaneously?

Talent of the Future | Hariri 250 | 11:50 - 12:50

Africa's future employment landscape is being transformed by the emergence of the largest population of under-employed and youngest labor market in the world, evolving adoption of digital technologies in the workplace, and maturing economies requiring more varied skillsets. Implementation of the CFTA will connect over 1.3 billion people—with a great majority of them being young people and women. Panelists will share perspectives on cultural and market trends, innovations and policy-making efforts required to drive African workforce mobility.

 

Key Questions:

How will these emerging human capital trends impact African economies operating across the FTA? What should regulators do to drive workforce mobility? What's the role of the private sector, particularly consultancies and professional service firms? 

Foreign Influence on Africa's Growth | Hariri 240 | 14:00 - 15:00

"Russia has a plan for Africa. China has a plan for Africa. The USA has a plan for Africa. Europe and much of Asia have a plan for Africa. Does Africa have a plan for Africa?"

- Vusi Thembekwayo

A panel to discuss implications of the CFTA in the global market. Is it Africa’s demonstration of putting Africa first, economically and politically? If so, how does this change engagement with foreign powers like China and the U.S.? Speakers will share perspectives on the 'Africa beyond aid’ narrative that is gaining traction across the continent, in contrast to the oft-criticized, and seemingly imbalanced trade relations with China.

Key Questions:

How should African countries advance engagement with foreign trade partners? At full potential, what does a collective African foreign trade strategy look like?

Travel & Tourism | Hariri 250 | 14:00 - 15:00

Easing regional visa restrictions and improved intra-Africa air connectivity is expected to boost the movement of people and tourism. Countries like Ghana have leveraged this, along with the growth of experience curators, to promote cultural exchange and travel through events like the Year of Return. The magnitude of this effect, as well as how it is narrated and promoted, will vary from country to country. But the reality is that barriers still exist to travel across the Continent, and not every passport grants the holder the same travel rights. 

Key Questions:

What lessons should be learned from Ghana's Year of Return? What narrative can/should be told to help drive travel? What opportunities lie ahead for both market players and regulators to maximize the CFTA opportunities?

#AfroDevTech | Lohrfink Auditorium | 14:00 - 15:00

While much of the free trade conversation is often focused on large firms moving goods at scale, tech-driven solutions such as fintech, online education services and off-grid energy innovations that can more easily expand to new markets still face challenges around imbalanced talent pools, restrictive regulatory environments, and disparate approaches to data privacy across countries. Panelists will share perspectives on how the CFTA can be the key to efficiently replicating SME tech solutions to African communities in nations that are relatively low on ‘ease of doing business’ indices.

 

Key Questions:

How do tech firms replicate across markets with supportive business environments and those without? How should tech regulation evolve? What role do tech firms play in bridging disparate economies to realize a truly open African market?

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