A Young Leader’s Perspective

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On the 2021 Africa Shared Value Leadership Summit

By Andrews Akoto-Addo, Investment Associate, Ghana Tech Lab

A Young Leader’s Perspective

Trust me, going through disheartening phases of leadership, surviving tumultuous economic and social situations – even in the face of COVID-19 – will not make Africa less attractive for investment, trade and industry. We are just perfect, even with our own imperfections for wealth creation.

As a continent, Africa will forever remain lucrative for business. We see this every day as more and more ‘foreigners’ troop into our countries to help themselves to the abundance of our resources and do business with us. But, some questions remain unanswered:

  1. Are we a partner in the truest sense of the word?
  2. Are we an integral part of the wealth creation process?
  3. What is in it for Africa and her people? What’s the end goal?

Notwithstanding the above, I am ecstatic about the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). Not to exaggerate, but by all accounts, the AfCFTA can be life-changing for many Africans – if we work together.

Of course, the Free Trade Area is only one aspect of our journey to sustainable economic recovery and prosperity. The importance of exemplary business leadership, good governance and exemplar political leadership for a sustainable socio-economic system, one that embodies the dignity, peace and prosperity of the African people, should not be understated.

The AfCFTA will thrive when the public and private sectors come together with society and collectively examine how Africa can achieve the future we all want – particularly to the Global Goals and the aspirations of AU Agenda 2063.

Against this background, I am particularly excited about the drive of young people to own the development narrative of Africa. “Youth is the foundation and the hope on which the inclusive development of our continent can be realised.”

In the wake of COVID-19, I witnessed incredible creativity and innovation championed by young people from all over the continent of Africa. More so, working with the Ghana Tech Lab, almost every day, I see passionate young people riding against the tides to leave a legacy of prosperity and stability – to have a continent where they can contribute to the well-being and development of their communities.

For this reason, I am avidly looking forward to the 5th annual Africa Shared Value Leadership Summit in Johannesburg, South Africa, from the 8th – 9th of November 2021. This year the theme will be One Africa One Voice; focusing on Africa’s Economic Growth, the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), Gender Equality and Inclusion, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Building Back Better.

The Summit presents an incredible opportunity to engage various actors of the entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystem, to learn of their work, and to celebrate the remarkable strives of young entrepreneurs and innovators on the continent.

Most importantly, I am honoured to be facilitating a session during one of the panel discussions that focus on our African Entrepreneurs themed: Overcoming Barriers as an Agile African Entrepreneur. This session promises to be very insightful and inspiring, especially as I am very much aware of the challenges encountered by many entrepreneurs on the continent to launch.

Considering the need to Build Back Better, the expected outcome of this session is for the government, business and society to make a success of the AfCFTA, as well as work together towards Africa’s economic recovery by developing new structures conducive to the development of entrepreneurship and innovation among young people.

How exciting! I am coming to Jozi for the 5th annual Africa Shared Value Leadership Summit at a time when we are also celebrating a decade of Creating Shared Value – it has been 10-years since the now-famous Creating Shared Value article was first published in the Harvard Business Review.