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5 Lavington Street
London, SE1
United Kingdom

The Business Council for Africa and Invest Africa’s flagship event, The Annual Debate 2018 returns 24th April for its forth edition. It has established itself as an important platform for everyone interested in and committed to African business.


Africa: The Next Chapter

As Africa enters a new phase in its development, African governments are facing decisions on how to create an attractive environment for economic growth. Commodity prices, currency fluctuations and political instability have challenged these perceptions and cast doubt in the minds of investors.  

The Annual Debate will focus on how Africa can respond to the challenges posed by global macroeconomic trends. 





13:00  WELCOME:

            Lanre Akinola, Editor, African Business (Chair)

            Arnold Ekpe, Honorary President, BCA  

  Sihle Zikalala, MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs (EDTEA), KwaZulu-Natal (KZN)


13:15   KEYNOTE ADDRESS: Africa for the 21st century

             Fred Swaniker, Founder, African Leadership University


13:45   DEBATE: Africa: A continent for the 21st century?

             ·      Urbanisation: Economic boon or demographic powderkeg?

             ·      Brexit and Trump: What impact for Africa?

             ·      Governance: Stuck in a start-stop cycle?

             ·      The Youth:  Much talked about, seldom taken seriously?


             Moderator: Patrick Smith, Editor of Africa Confidential and Rédacteur-en-Chef of the Africa Report

  Rolake Akinkugbe, Head of Energy and Natural Resources, FBN FBN Merchant Bank

            Professor Thandika Mkandawire, Professor of African Development, LSE

            Chris Ochieng, Senior Development Manager, Tatu City (Rendeavour)

             Dr. Albert Zeufack, Chief Economist for Africa, World Bank

             Sihle Zikalala, MEC for EDTEA, KZN




15:15   KEYNOTE ADDRESS: Africa's Economic Outlook 2017

            Dr. Yemi Kale, Statistician General, National Bureau of Statistics, Nigeria (NBS)             


   James Wharton MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Development)


15:45   DEBATE: Finance & Investment: New realities post “Africa Rising”

             ·      Blended finance: Can it unlock the optimal funding solution?

             ·      Private equity: Has the sector already peaked?

             ·      Impact investing: Doing good, but doing well?

             ·      Forex, liquidity, fiscal policy: Who is going to provide the capital to fuel growth?                                                                                         

   Moderator: Jonathan Rosenthal, Africa Editor, The Economist

   Orli Arav, Director of Investments, Soros Economic Development Fund

             Julio Garrido-Mirapeix, Head of International Development Advisory Services, KPMG

             Lawrence Kimathi, Group Chief Financial Officer, Kenya Commercial Bank

   Babatunde Temitope Soyoye, Managing Partner, Helios Investment Partners  



16:45   KEYNOTE ADDRESS: “Where the future is going to be built…” Understanding Africa’s Tech Sector

             Erik Hersman, CEO, BRCK; Co-Founder, Ushahidi


17:00   DEBATE: Africa’s tech revolution: Separating fact from fiction

            ·      What is the impact of tech innovation on sectors such as energy, entertainment and retail?

  ·      Tech hubs: Are governments enabling innovative ecosystems?

            ·      How are companies trying to encourage connectivity and tackle the issue of the 'last 1,000 miles'?

             ·         How has the sector contributed to realising the African Union’s Agenda 2063 visions for female empowerment?  

             ·         Will FinTech conquer the challenges surrounding Africa’s fledgling e-commerce markets?


             Moderator: Manji Cheto, Vice President, TENEO Intelligence   

             Emeka Afigbo, Strategic Products Partnerships, Middle East & Africa, Facebook              

            Chris Baker-Brian, Co-founder and CTO, BBOXX

            Ethel Cofie, Co-founder, Women in Tech Africa, CEO and Founder, Edel Technology

   Rob Withagen, Co-Founder and Managing Director, Asoko Insight


17:55    SUMMARY OF THE DAY: Lanre Akinola, Editor, African Business



              Drinks Reception Sponsored by ABAX, continuing 25 years of growth and celebrating the 2nd anniversary in London

19:15     GALA DINNER

    Welcome: Robert Bourns, President, The Law Society

     The Toast: Tobias Ellwood MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign and Commonwealth Office)

     Closing Remarks: David Lamb, Chairman, The Business Council for Africa


21:30     CARRIAGES