HBS AFRICA BUSINESS CONFERENCE 2018
A NOTE FROM THE CONFERENCE CHAIRS
On behalf of the Africa Business Club, a student club of Harvard Business School, welcome to the 20th Annual Africa Business Conference! It is hard to believe that twenty years have gone by since the inaugural conference in 1998. Much has changed since that first gathering, and we are proud that with each passing year, the conference has not only grown tremendously but has helped to connect over 10,000 people who share an interest, passion and commitment to the wonderful continent of Africa. For the 20th anniversary, we want to focus not only on the amazing opportunities and developments happening in Africa, but also on how individuals, businesses, and the continent at large engage within the global ecosystem. For this reason, our theme for this year’s conference is “Values and Value Chains: Africa in a New Global Era.”
The global landscape is changing at a seemingly more rapid pace than ever before. We believe now is the time for the African continent, with its rich history, resources, values, and institutions, to provide the global dialogue with unique perspectives and ideas that contribute towards making the continent and the world a better, more inclusive, place.
Much of the current conversation around Africa’s current and growing economic prowess over-emphasizes its resource potential of a large and growing middle class of consumers, a passive receptacle to whom globalization can be “brought to” or “done to.” We believe in a more proactive, vigorous form of African potential. Consequently, we want to initiate a discussion that focuses on Africa’s potential as a hub for secondary and tertiary industries. The good news is that because there are not too many entrenched technologies or distribution channels or legacy infrastructure, we can be creative when thinking about solutions that address the continent and the world’s ever-growing needs.
We hope this brief synopsis excites you and gives you an idea of the larger conversation we hope to achieve at this 20th conference. We are confident that this year’s keynote speakers, panelists and so on will further our knowledge around this important topic, and in the words of the HBS mission, inspire us to be leaders who make a difference in the world.
Your conference Co-Chairs,
Afua & Aminata