INVESTING FOR IMPACT & PROFIT
Private Equity in Africa: Navigating an Uncertain Market Landscape
African economies have presented robust opportunities for private equity investors on the basis of a rapidly emerging middle class and fast economic growth. However, they are now facing increasingly uncertain market conditions, including macroeconomic volatility, political uncertainty, and greater competition for attractive assets from both PE and increasingly active corporate investors. How are private equity investors responding to these challenges? Does the evolving market dynamics present new opportunities?
The Future of Impact Investing in Africa: What Now?
As the impact investing space matures, questions have begun to arise around the seemingly low level of successful exits and limited reporting of their returns. Now that "it's too early to tell" is losing validity, where *really* is the sector in terms of financial viability and sustainability? Where does the sector go from here? Is a pivot needed, or is the proof just around the corner?
Picking Winners In Africa: Finding the Right Investments
Picking winning ventures is tough. Picking winning ventures in Africa is even tougher. This panel ignites a conversation on the methodologies investors have used to examine and predict the success of ventures funded. How to tell if a venture will go bust or generate a decent return? Come learn from seasoned veterans who will share their unique take on investing in the rising continent.
CREATING NEW VENTURES
Failing Up SUCCESSFULLY in Africa: Lessons learned on overcoming challenges from successful entrepreneurs
Entrepreneurialism with its promises of employability and economic prosperity is often looked at as the grand panacea of Africa. But entrepreneurship-led ventures are often led by bold risk embracing businessman. African business owners, like any other business owners, should learn to embrace failure. This panel ignites an honest and frank conversation about failing in Africa and the lessons learned along the road to success.
African Entrepreneurship in a Global Context
This panel will discuss the experience of African entrepreneurs who have returned to the continent after studying or working abroad. Covering the differences between doing business in the West vs Africa, entrepreneurs’ motivation for targeting the African market, the challenges of finding talent, idea execution, investor relationship, and building customer adoption, this panel will be particularly relevant for attendees who are considering moving to the continent to start a new venture.
Startup Lab: Interacting with Investors as an Early Stage Venture
Startup Lab is a workshop created for the New Venture Competition entrepreneurs and other interested entrepreneurs to solicit advice from conference participants. This year, Steven Koltai (Harvard Advanced Leadership Initiative Fellow, Brookings Institution Visiting Scholar, and World Bank XL Africa’s former Lead Mentor) will lead an interactive session entitled “Interacting with Investors as an Early Stage Venture.” Steven will 1) discuss best practices for early stage ventures that are beginning to interact with investors, 2) explore emerging models for funding entrepreneurship ecosystem development in Africa, and 3) help our New Venture Competition finalists navigate their funding questions through interactive role-plays.
BUILDING THE ECOSYSTEM
Supply chains: Navigating complex supply chain challenges in Africa
Despite substantial growth in African economies, supply chains across the continent still face major infrastructural, regulatory, political, and financial obstacles. This panel will examine several questions around the future of African supply chains, including: How can African supply chains leverage technology to reduce cost and increase reliability? How can companies source raw materials in a sustainable and responsible fashion? What type of innovation is needed to overcome existing obstacles? How can companies best navigate political and regulatory realities to mitigate risk?
The Role of Digital Banking and Payment in Driving Financial Inclusion in Africa - the Journey so Far and Future Potential
Financial inclusion is a critical factor for economic development however, according to the World Bank, only a third of adults in sub Saharan Africa have bank accounts. The growth of mobile money services in the past decade has been welcome by millions of users, however, there is still a lot of ground to cover with the level of financial inclusion still low across Africa. What service models will be most successful in expanding financial inclusion? What are the enabling factors needed to bring financial services to the majority of Africans?
Disruptive innovation and the future of development in Africa
By 2050, Africa’s population is estimated to reach 2.4 billion and by 2100, it will be approximately 4.2 billion. Is Africa’s population boom more of a curse than a blessing? Can its economies generate the jobs necessary to employ a workforce projected to reach 830 million people by 2050? Will its leaders deliver the education and infrastructure required to unleash the productivity of its people? Consider this: the daily electricity consumption of New York City (population 8.5 mil) is more than the combined usage of all sub-Saharan African countries (population 973 mil) excluding South Africa. But Africa’s development trajectory need not resemble that of now-developed countries. In fact, it cannot. For Africa to develop, the continent will need disruptive innovators who make products simple and affordable so that a majority of people in society can consume them. This process serves as the foundation of economic development, and the quicker Africans can foster disruptive innovations, the quicker the continent will develop. In this panel, we will have a frank conversation with innovators in Africa about how they have developed their organizations, the impact they are having, and some of the struggles they face.
Blockchain Technology in Frontier Markets
Blockchain technology promises to radically alter the way the world exchanges value by combining cryptography, a secure form of communication, with the economics of decentralization. This could lead to a world without financial intermediaries meaning faster transactions without compromising on security. The policy and business world are enthusiastic about the future of Blockchain and related innovations but what does it mean for Africa in terms of risks and opportunities? How has the continent responded to developments in blockchain? What are the promising business use cases of blockchain and how can African entrepreneurs and governments innovate?
DEVELOPING HUMAN CAPITAL
Digital Health in Africa: How start-ups, investors, and local governments can collaborate to realize the promise and navigate the challenges
"Billions of dollars in health care cost savings, more accessible health care services for people in hard-to-reach places, the ability to stamp out emerging epidemics before they reach crisis level and, universal health coverage". These are some of the promises of digital health according to PATH (an international nonprofit organization). What has been accomplished so far? How can digital health start ups and local governments work together to realize these promises? What are the necessary policy, regulatory and infrastructure changes needed to further facilitate the implementation of a multinational, interoperable, digital health system?
Innovative Health Financing: Strategies for sustainable solutions to health system financing
As African countries continue to face challenges in financing their healthcare systems, what innovative approaches can be used to improve financing options? With international organizations like Global Fund, the GAVI Alliance and UNITAID using innovative financing mechanism for resource mobilization and expansion of activities, what lessons can be learned from these mechanisms of financing? How can sustainable financing methods be developed in countries in Sub-Saharan Africa in order to strengthen healthcare systems across the continent?
Investing in Medical Products (Pharma/Med Devices) in Africa
African consumers have limited access to low-cost, high-quality pharmaceuticals, medical devices, and medical-related consumer goods relative to consumers in other regions of the world. According to EMPEA, healthcare is a major area of interest for PE funds, yet the number of healthcare investments relative to the size of the economy has been low. Furthermore, most PE healthcare investments have been targeting hospitals and medical services, not medical products. Is there opportunity in expanding manufacturing capacity for medical products? What are the regulatory or political barriers to entry?
Funding Innovation in African Education
It universally known that substantial improvements need to be made in educational systems in Africa. However, many models to date have required continued concessionary capital, limiting their scalability and sustainability. What is the potential for impactful educational models to actually become self-sustaining, and what needs to change in the sector to promote and allow for this possibility?
BUILDING THE FUTURE
Industrializing African Agribusiness: Opportunities and Challenges
Since the Industrial Revolution, many governments have viewed industrialization – chiefly via manufacturing – as a key to development. Governments inside and outside Africa have acknowledged the potential of industrialization for growth on the continent, as with the United Nations’ annual “African Industrial Development.” Yet many African economies remain highly dependent on agriculture. With the failure of many countries to achieve manufacturing-based industrialization, perhaps Africa’s rich natural resources and fertile land represent an opportunity for agricultural transformation as a path to development. Is there a place for modernized agriculture in Africa’s development story? If so, what areas are most ripe for opportunity, and what can/should governments do to facilitate agricultural this transformation? Just as crucially, what role is there for the millions of smallholder farmers across Africa to play in the continent’s development?
Creating and Capturing Value in Urban Africa
Africa is the world’s fastest urbanizing continent. Several of its largest cities are projected to be, as soon as 2050, not only several times as large as they currently are but several times as large as their biggest Western counterparts are expected to be. For some, these projections signal a threat to Africa’s quality of urban life. The potential for massive population growth could exacerbate an already-stark lack of public services, significant unemployment, concentrated poverty, and proliferation of slums and informal development. For others, however, this trend spells considerable potential for economic growth and opportunity for innovation. This panel will focus on what, if at all, it will take to have the latter come to fruition: what African cities can and need to do to turn substantial population growth into economic growth and improvements in quality of life for their residents. This panel will discuss what tools and policies – legal, governmental, economic, etc. – private and public actors can use to simultaneously harness and accommodate unprecedented urban population growth.
Connecting the unconnected: What’s been done and what is left to do?
The Internet’s economic impact has made significant contributions to the gross domestic product(GDP) of many nations. It has fueled new, innovative industries and changed societies by forging new links between individuals and communities and providing access to information and education, and promoting greater transparency. According to Nielsen Online, through June 30, 2017, the penetration rate of internet users in Africa was 31%. This is the lowest penetration rate of any continent in the world. North America, the highest in the world, has a penetration rate of 88.1%. In the past few years, global technology giants such as Facebook and Google have launched efforts to provide free internet to parts of Africa. Besides these global initiatives, there are also several homegrown efforts that seek to increase internet connectedness in Africa. This panel will explore the various projects that are underway, touch on what else can be done and opine on how these efforts can ultimately affect the economic and political landscape of the African continent.
Branding and Investment in the African Digital Healthcare Market
Increasing digital penetration has the potential to provide access to millions otherwise disenfranchised by geographical and infrastructural barriers. Sub-Saharan Africa constitutes 13% of the world’s population and yet, has 24% of the global burden of disease. The region is in a crisis, with only 2% of the world’s doctors and 1% of the world’s health expenditure. Digital health holds promise for more efficient and cost-effective ways to reach people. The healthcare market in Africa is plagued with unique ethical, technological and financial. What is the role of branding and investment in overcoming these obstacles?
Building With Africa's Next Billionaire Generation
From the world's richest Black man, Aliko Dangote, Zimbabwe's first billionaire, Strive Masiyiwa, Africa's youngest billionaire, 44-year old Mohammed Dewji of Tanzania, to the two richest African women in the world, billionaires, Isabel dos Santos of Angola and Folorunso Alakija of Nigeria, Africa has proven itself as a market for innovation, big business and value creation despite its many challenges. Whether it is extractive industries, agricultural innovation, leapfrogging in telecommunications, financial services, or global acquisitions, these bold men, and women of Africa have pushed boundaries on what Africa can offer in business. Yet, there is much more to be done to further develop the region and much more to explore and capitalize on its potential. There is a generation of entrepreneurs and industry captains coming up, spurred and inspired by the success stories of 'Africa's billionaires'; however questions arise, can Africa produce a new generation of billionaires; African billionaires producing "proudly made in Africa" products for the region and for the global market? What are the existing challenges and opportunities that can be explored by this next generation of African entrepreneurs?
POWERING & FINANCING DEVELOPMENT
Promoting Financial Markets Liquidity in Africa
The financial markets in Africa has witnessed significant growth over the last decade, though remains small relative to other emerging markets. We have seen new markets open, bond markets deepen and eurobond rise in issuance. However, liquidity remains a major challenge in the market. This panel will consider the current obstacles to increasing liquidity, and the consequences of a lack of financial market liquidity. It will do so from the perspective of an OTC operator, as well as public and private market investors.
Energy Infrastructure: How to close the Power Gap?
“In the past, we’ve relied on governments to power our countries; we now need to bring in the private sector to help empower our economies and people,” said Cyril M. Ramaphosa, Deputy President of South Africa and now President of the ANC ruling party at the World Economic Forum last year. The same body agreed that closing Africa's power gap would result in a 30% increase in economic growth across the continent. However, even with the importance of this goal broadly recognized and increased commitments of private governmental and institutional funds, Africa remains behind on 2020 SDG Energy Infrastructure Goals. What is needed to speed up development in this critical sector? What role do power producers, institutional funders, governments and suppliers of critical resources such as natural gas play in the galvanization of this industry. Most importantly what needs to change to see faster development in the industry that could unlock up to 30% of the continent's economic growth?
Cross country roads, rail, ports, LNG facilities, power plants. Mega-Projects comprise the most important infrastructure projects across the continent. They can revolutionize the ability for citizens to travel across their country, import goods and resources, and close the energy and infrastructure gaps that hold back countries and broader regions. They also come with significant network benefits to local and regional economies. Why then is it, that mega-projects are often the hardest ones to get off the ground? What are the key constraints that hold back the implementation of game changer roads, ports and power plants? And most importantly, what is the role of infrastructure players, IFIs, project financiers, and national governments in breaking those constraints?
Intra-African Trade Development
At Independence, many African countries inherited infrastructure that was suited to colonial trade. This meant railroads to ports, for export to the colonial power. The demand through these corridors of extraction, the creation of national borders, coupled with war, governance issues, have hampered the development of intra-African trade. In light of this, how do countries – and the continent as a whole – build such trade? This is a question of the cross-border movement of people, goods and capital.
CREATING THE NARRATIVE
Trailblazing in African Media
Trailblazers play a pivotal role in shaping African media and communications. This panel ignites a conversation on the initiatives taken to reshape African media. The panelists will draw from their personal experiences and hope to impart on the audience a fresh take.
Investing in Africa's Creative Industries
The African start-up is ripe for proper investment. In the realms of retail, technology, art, culture, and fashion, it has never been more important to secure financial backing to take one's enterprise to the next level. These sectors are driving greater awareness of the African continent far beyond the traditional narratives using digital tools and galvanizing a diaspora community to enhance brand storytelling and drive profitability. The serious players are building towards a sustainable future and are doing so with financing that not only provides strategic guidance, but also an impressive track record of building African-led brands. How have these creative upstarts succeeded in running faster than the rest? Who are the like-minded financiers who are fueling these new engines of growth? Join us for a lively discussion on how to raise capital for your creative enterprise, how to identify trusted partners, and hear what is next for the entrepreneurial class on the continent.
Turning African talent potential into success
The common refrain regarding talent in Africa is that "talent is there" albeit concentrated in more developed corners of the continent. This panel spanning multiple industries and schools of experience will address two fundamental questions: (1) What is talent ? Is it the Western-educated type with roots on the continent or does it extend to "indigenous" educated ones? (2) In a world where even the market for talent has globalized, how hard is it to identify and most importantly cultivate on the ground, beyond the issues that involve "returnees."
INTERACTIVE SESSION WITH BCG: Total Societal Impact- A New Lens for Strategy
For decades, most companies have oriented their strategies toward maximizing total shareholder return (TSR). This focus, the thinking has been, creates high-performing companies that produce the goods and services society needs and that power economic growth around the world. According to this view, explicit efforts to address societal challenges, including those created by corporate activity, are best left to government and NGOs. Now, however, corporate leaders are rethinking the role of business in society.
Total Societal Impact (TSI) is the total benefit to society from a company’s products, services, operations, core capabilities, and activities. BCG conducted a comprehensive study of how the TSI approach is being adopted in five industries and we developed some fascinating insights. Join us for a vibrant discussion about TSI, TSR, trends, benefits, and how companies could thrive on this approach to running their businesses in Africa in the context of the new global era.
The Music Business in Africa
Demand for homegrown contemporary music is sweeping Africa and driving a creative boom in the continent’s music industry. Additionally, African musicians are generating more interest across the globe through tours and collaborations with big international names. But has the economic attractiveness of the African music business grown accordingly with the surge in quality and demand? Which income generation sources (streaming royalties, album/single sales, concerts/tours, endorsements) are driving revenues, and which are underperforming? How can the economics be improved to sustain growth and attract the next generation of talent? What roles can key stakeholders (regulators, distributors and consumers) play in driving the industry’s attractiveness? Finally, with ever-increasing internet penetration on the continent, how are music labels adapting their distribution strategies to reach music fans on the continent?
US AFRICA POLICY IN THE AGE OF TRUMP
The Trump administration has yet to make clear its policy stance towards Africa leaving governments on the continent wondering what to expect from the US over the next three years and afterwards. What can the continent expect from the US in terms of economic, diplomatic and developmental engagement over the next three years and what does this mean for the US' role in Africa in the long term.
The nexus of business and politics. The role of political parties in development
The development of economies and easy of doing business in Africa is largely a product of how political parties are run and function. African political parties are struggling to develop as they are riddled with factionalism abused by the rich and corrupt to capture state power for selfish ends. The absence of intra-party democracy results in poor policies and candidates running for public office. Despite central role played by political parties in governance they are shunned and least supported entities and yet they shape national economies. The panel discussion will explore ways in which business sector can play a constructive role beyond funding parties and individuals to ensuring political parties are better run and managed. The mantra that parties are messy and controversial and should be left to their own devise is unsustainable as the decisions at party level invariably affect all facets of public life.
The panel will discuss the following: (1) The crisis of political parties in development in Africa; (2) How private sector development partners can assist in strengthening political parties and (3) Mechanisms of attractive quality leadership that can help shape progressive policies to push for development