Today I got the chance to tick off yet one more item from my MBA Bucket List: Attend a business conference.
On the 3rd of March, 2016, the Full-Time MBA Class of Lagos Business School hosted an Africa Business Conference. The conference kicked off with a video (which you can view here) tagged: The Africa We See.
After the Dean of LBS (Enase Okonedo) and the President of the ABC committee spoke, the Co-Founder of IHS Towers (Mohamed Darwish) delivered his keynote speech. He spoke on the dynamics of doing business in Africa and shared 5 key steps for business success - timing, customer focus, product design, market and vision.
The second keynote address was delivered by His Excellency, Governor Mimiko, of Ondo State. Key takeaways from his speech include:
- Africa's Potential:
- Population: Lagos is the 4th most populous city in the world. Africa will account for 3.2 billion of the projected 4 billion increase in the world's population by 2100. Africa is the youngest continent and has the highest growth potential.
- Enterprise: SMEs in Nigeria comprise 90% of all businesses in Nigeria, as against 50 - 60% in North America
- Global Awareness: The international narrative about Africa is changing - from Afro-pessimism to Afro-optimism
- Our Limitations:
- Leadership and Corruption
- Technology: Africa represents only 9% of the world's Internet users
- Agriculture: Africa's arable land makes up 40% of global arable land but only 10% has been cultivated. In 2011, Africa spent $43.6 billion on agricultural imports despite its vast agricultural potential
- Tourism: Global tourism is worth $3 billion a day, of which Africa's share is 5% (North Africa's share alone is 2% while the rest of Africa is 3%)
- Electricity: Almost 0.5 billion Africans do not have access to electricity. Nigeria with a population of 180 million has the same electricity capacity as Hungary, which has a population of 10 million
- Growth Areas to Focus on:
- Cultural Renaissance and Value Re-orientation
- Agriculture and Wealth Creation
- Creative Industry
- Land Reforms
- Gender Equity
- Urgent To-Dos:
- Deliberately re-jig our development trajectory towards industrialization
- Encourage intra-African trade
- Share technology
- Protect our intellectual property
After the presentation, we had cocktails and a networking session. I met up with Ndidi Nwuneli of LEAP Africa, years after leaving the University of Nigeria as a NIA girl.
Subsequently, we broke out into panel sessions (Energy & Resources, Education, Youth & Women, Agriculture, Healthcare, Creatives & Entrepreneurship, ICT & Infrastructure and Manufacturing & Retail).
All in all, it was a tremendous learning opportunity. Kudos to the LBS FMBA students for pulling this off without a hitch!