Over 150 Students, Alumni and Business Leaders from or with an interest in the African Continent attended 5th African Business Network annual conference at the Cambridge University Judge Business School at the end of May. This year the main theme was how Africa could be transformed to create value and to drive consumption – a simple question with a not so simple answer and much complexity within the possible solutions.
With insightful and excellent points raised by the Keynote Speakers, Bola Adesola (CEO of Standard Chartered Bank) and Arnold Ekpe (Chairman of Atlas Mara), the event, as in previous years, inspired passionate, patriotic and innovative debate during the question time and carrying on afterwards into the networking sessions.
Alongside an impressive selection of African Business Leaders and Professionals, Richard Putley, Managing Director of Executives in Africa was asked to participate as a panellist on the topic of Human Capital Development as a Catalyst for Growth.
Talking specifically on Human Capital and the prevention of African Students seeking academic qualifications outside of Africa or the ‘brain drain’, Putley commented, “Education, as with business, is now International. The issue is not about preventing students from seeking education outside of Africa, but to provide an exceptional level of education within the continent that will then start attracting international students as well as African ones into its Business Schools”.
It was widely agreed that the international networking opportunities built during this time can be as valuable long term from a business perspective, as much as the quality of the education gained from an institution. As such, African Business Schools need to address this element as much as the educational quality issue.
Other topics discussed throughout the day focused on Technology & Entrepreneurship, Energy & Infrastructure, Leadership & Human Capital and Media in both its Traditional and New Platforms.
“Executives in Africa have been involved with the Conference since its inception which was closely linked to Professional for Africa (www.professionalsforafrica.com), a networking group co-founded by EiA’s other Managing Director, Sarah Fitzgerald.” He continues, “We look forward to next year’s event which I am sure will prove to be as relevant and interesting as this year’s”.