Africa is projected to be the world’s second-fastest-growing economy to 2020 according to the IMF, with the fastest growing youth population. With incomes continuing to rise, and the emergence of the African middle-class, the African consumer is proving to be a key conduit for enabling this growth on the continent. There is also an emerging narrative that the African growth story is overstated and that the consumer opportunity is fragmented. The continent is set to have 1.1 billion consumers by 2020 according to a recent survey, which is more than the populations of Europe and North America combined. With incomes continuing to rise, and the emergence of the African middle-class, the African consumer is proving to be a key conduit for enabling this growth on the continent. Despite all of these affirmative indicators, there is an emerging narrative that the African growth story is overstated and that the consumer opportunity is fragmented. The argument continues to advocate that most African economies are still overly reliant on natural resources for growth, are inhibited by lack of inter-continental trade, and lack the infrastructure to service the domestic demand from consumers.
The gloomy narrative neglects the overwhelming reality that despite recent challenges inhibiting accelerated growth in some countries, Africa’s current consumer and business spending is at $4 trillion. The middle-class on the continent is driving investments for local production of packaged manufacturing goods, sophisticated financial products, and disruptive technological innovations which have leapfrogged developed economies. As a result, there continues to be global appetite for investment on the continent, which will lead to economic development and sustainable impact.
The Oxford Business Forum Africa 2018 will bring together industry leaders from the continent, to deconstruct these opposing perspectives, analyse the size of the prize of these emerging trends, and deliver actionable insights to seize the opportunity, and in so doing, (Re)define the African consumer.
Hosted jointly by Oxford University’s Saïd Business School and the Oxford Business Network for Africa, the Forum provides an exciting opportunity to meet and hear from distinguished CEOs, entrepreneurs, civil servants and thought leaders from across Africa as well as Oxford University students and alumni.
Through keynote speakers, panels and master classes the Forum will explore the impact of the rise of the African middle-class and their increased disposable income on the economy. From focused discussions on trends and opportunities in the African consumer landscape, to exploring emerging innovations which are driving growth on the continent, the Forum will provide a vibrant platform for thinking about what actions businesses need to take to seize the African consumer opportunity.
Convening over 350 delegates and around 20 high profile speakers, the Forum will offer unrivalled insight into business on the continent from the boldest innovators and decision makers in Africa. A gala dinner, held at Balliol College, will open the Forum on Friday 9 March, followed by the full day Forum on Saturday 10 March at Oxford Saïd.
Confirmed speakers include:
- Yvonne Ike, Managing Director at Bank of America Merrill Lynch
- Colin Coleman, Head of Sub-Saharan Africa at Goldman Sachs
- Peter Malia, Investment Director at CDC
- Mark Lamberti, Founder of Massmart Holdings & CEO of Imperial Holdings
- Lynette Ntuli, Chief Executive Officer, Innate Investment Solutions
- Chidi Okpala, Group Managing Director for Fintech at Atlas Mara
- Ashish J. Thakkar, Founder of Mara Group
Matsi Modise, Founder & CEO, Furaha Afrika Holdings
Ricardo Tadeu, Zone President Africa, AB Inbev
Kanini Mutooni, Chair Of The Finance and Audit Committee, Global Innovate Fund
- Martyn Davies, Managing Director, Emerging Markets & Africa at Deloitte Africa
- Carlijn Nouwen, Partner, Dalberg
- David Yen, Head of Global Strategy Partnerships, Bitpesa
- Geetha Tharmaratnam, Founding Member, Abraaj Global Health Fund
- Mthuli Ncube, Managing Director & Head, Quantum Global Research
Whether you want to hear fascinating talks from some of the leaders in Africa, or just want to understand the African consumer and related opportunities, this is the event for you.