The school’s Africa Society attended the Financial Times Africa Summit at Claridge’s Hotel, London last month. Over the course of the day, society members had the opportunity to listen to all matters Africa from some of the continent’s leading business people and politicians.
In Claridge’s conference hall, the day saw a wide range of conversation and debate about the vast opportunities the continent offers, and how to harness them. This included an opening speech from His Excellency Nanna Addo Dankwe Afuko-Addo on his vision for a future Ghana. The ‘Investors from the East’ panel presented ideas on ways to better interconnect Africa’s economy from David Pilling, Ken Ofori-Atta and more.
Boys listened to panels discussing the changing of the guard and initiatives taking place under Africa’s new leaders. The Summit, entitled ‘Africa Means Business’, saw a largely positive attitude, with Professor Ncube, finance minister of Zimbabwe, notably remarking on how ‘Zimbabwe is now open for business’. Breaks in between sessions were excellent networking opportunities and boys had the chance to personally engage with business moguls such as Aliko Dangote.
A highlight was a keynote session with former Prime Minister Tony Blair. In an interview with FT editor Lionel Barber, he remarked upon the importance of governance in modern-day Africa and potential political strategies to move forward. He highlighted success stories such as Sénégal, where good governance means that Western investors are prepared to invest there. He also highlighted, however, the idea that Europe and the States need to improve their offer of investment, and the equity of the conditions of their investments, if they do not wish to see China monopolise the vast opportunities on the continent. Similar ideas were discussed during a speech from His Excellency Ali Bongo Ondimba, President of Gabon.
The day acted as a unique and fascinating opportunity for boys to discuss Africa with some of the continent’s key decision makers. We left the day most grateful, inspired and curious as to how we can help shape Africa’s future in our own right. The Africa Society wishes to sincerely thank Mr Bernard Mensah and Dr Tony Ofori for making it possible for us to attend.