By now those with an interest in Africa will be familiar with the rhetoric of Africa rising, the phenomenon that after decades of slow growth Africa is finally seeing growth and development, resulting in publications such the Economist revising their view of Africa as the hopeless continent, to Africa the rising continent, sparking debate on where Africa’s future lies and whether this growth is sustainable, the question now posed is Africa really rising? At The Luxurious Africa our Answer to the question is yes, “Africa rising is a story, not a statement” Africa has a unique history, and its colonial past still influences its development within the continent today, its development has taken place at a slower pace than some of the other developing continents, however its now looking like it is Africa’s time to shine, Africa is now considered to be the final frontier. We recently attended conferences held at the prominent educational institutions of London Business School and Oxford University and decided to look into how many other international institutions hold Africa based conferences.
London Business School
A top ranked global business school, currently rated number 4 in the FT Business school global ranking. LBS have held an Annual “Africa Day”conference for the last 12 years, organised by students from the schools Africa club consisting of alumni and professionals from around the world who share an interest in Africa. This year’s conference was entitled “Investing in Sustainable Success” with key-note speakers such as Alex Okosi from Senior Vice President & Managing Director, Viacom International Media Networks Africa, Richard Dowden, Director, Royal African Society, Alain Ebobissé, CIO, Global infrastructure, IFC & Global Head, IFC InfraVentures.
Claimed to be the oldest university in the English-speaking world, and the second oldest surviving university in the world Oxford University held its 3rd annual African conference via its Africa Society, entitled “Towards a 21st Century African Renaissance: Sowing the Seeds of Success”. Speakers included H.E. Kwaku Danso-Boafo, Ghana High Commissioner to the UK, Eric Guichard, CEO of Homestrings.com, Marianne Mwaniki, Head of Social and Economic Performance, Standard Chartered, Journalist Nabila Ramdani, His Honour Dr. Guy Scott, Vice President, Republic of Zambia and His Majesty King Letsie III, King of Lesotho.
Harvard Business School
Harvard Business School have been organising conferences on Africa for the past 15 years, organised by the Africa business club this years conference on “Redefining Africa: The Emergence a New African Story” saw the conferences largest turn out with over 1,335 attendees which included prominent business leaders, and aspiring young minds from across the globe. The conference was organised in recognition of the fact that as Africa evolves, so too must the World’s perception of the continent. The conference consisted of three dynamic keynote addresses and twenty-three panel sessions.
Noted as the second oldest university in the English-speaking world, Cambridge University is considered to be one of the most prestigious institutions of higher learning in the United Kingdom and the world. Cambridge is a relative newcomer when it comes to African conferences, with this years conference scheduled for June to be based on the subject of “Converting Opportunity into Success” and will look at the topics of ‘What success looks like’, ‘Banking the unbanked in Africa’ ‘Legal Challenges and ‘Opportunities in Africa’ and ‘The Growing World of African Media and Entertainment’ amongst other panel discussion.
Although some people would still like Africa to remain a best kept secret, we see focus on Africa as positive thing. Our only gripe would be we are starting to see repetition in terms of the speakers and panelist being presented, and the panelist must ensure they are able to answer the questions presented in line with the overall subject matter and not simply provide a narrative overview of their perspective of the continent. African students, professionals and consumers have become slightly more sophisticated, and same old rhetoric on Africa being a continent and not a country will no longer suffice.