A new World Economic Forum initiative, the Africa Growth Platform, was launched today with the goal of helping Africa’s community of start-up enterprises grow and compete in international markets.
The Africa Growth Platform will do this in three ways: firstly, by securing commitments from governments to implement policy reforms aimed at stimulating and accelerating business growth. Secondly, it aims to build a community of investors, whether private investors, foundations, multilateral institutions or corporate intrapreneurs to enable better coordination and pooling of resources that could facilitate larger subsequent rounds of funding. Third, the platform will create and sustain a community of start-up businesses themselves, promoting collaboration and sharing best practices.
The need for an innovative approach to helping Africa’s start-ups reach the scale where they become sustainable is backed up by data. Two thirds of Africa’s 420 million young people are currently unemployed which highlights a clear need for new solutions to drive employment growth. At the same time, Africa’s young population is well-endowed with entrepreneurial spirit with early-stage entrepreneurial activity 13% higher than the global average. However, due to insufficient support and infrastructure, the region’s start-ups are 14% more likely to fail than those elsewhere in the world.
“Africa’s entrepreneurs are its greatest economic asset but spirit and resourcefulness alone are not always enough to help them succeed. Too often start-ups and innovative enterprises fail needlessly through lack of additional finance or overly burdensome regulations. The Africa Growth Platform brings together all the actors; governments, investors and the businesses themselves necessary to create an environment where they can fulfil their potential in terms of growth and employment,” said Elsie Kanza, Head of Africa, World Economic Forum.
The founding members of the Africa Growth Platform are:
- Alibaba Group
- A. T. Kearney
- Dalberg Group
- Export Trading Group
- U.S. African Development Foundation
- Zenith Bank
The Africa Growth Platform will form a major part of the programme at the forthcoming World Economic Forum on Africa 2019, which will take place 4-6 September in Cape Town, South Africa with the goal of using the convening power of the meeting to secure commitments and participation from leaders of governments, businesses, investors and other stakeholders.
The theme of the 2019 World Economic Forum on Africa is Shaping Inclusive Growth and Shared Futures in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The meeting will convene more than 1,000 regional and global leaders from government, business, civil society and academia. This gathering will explore new models to help Africa achieve success at a time when technology is creating dramatic economic and societal shifts. The meeting’s highly interactive programme will also cover issues as diverse as skills and education, the ocean economy, the economic impact of drones, free trade and ecommerce.
The Co-Chairs of the 2019 World Economic on Africa are Jeremy Farrar, Director, Wellcome Trust, United Kingdom; Arancha Gonzalez Laya, Executive Director, International Trade Centre (ITC), Geneva; Alex Liu, Managing Partner and Chairman, A. T. Kearney, USA; André Hoffmann, Vice-Chairman, Roche, Switzerland; Jim Ovia, Chairman, Zenith Bank, Nigeria, Sipho M. Pityana, Chairman, AngloGold Ashanti, South Africa.