The World Economic Forum Annual Meeting took place from January 21 to January 24, 2020, in Davos-Klosters.
One of the highlights of this year's meeting was the ‘Swiss-African Business Roundtable’ which was hosted by Ringier AG represented by CEO & Managing Partner, Marc Walder, Pulse represented by Board member, Leonard Stiegeler and Rainbow Unlimited represented by Michael Rheinegger.
The focus of the event was to connect Swiss and African businesses, discuss topics of common interest in Swiss-African business relations and increase the visibility of Africa and African businesses at the World Economic Forum.
Addressing the participants, Ringier AG CEO & Managing Partner, Marc Walder said: “this event was organised to raise awareness with stakeholders on initiatives that are crucial to sustainably doing business in Africa. We have a big platform to build something substantial here, to showcase the opportunities available in Africa at the World Economic Forum”
Ringier Africa AG Board Member and Pulse representative Leonard Stiegeler expressed the need for stakeholders to come together to shine the global spotlight on opportunities for business in Africa.
“The outlook for business opportunities in Africa is positive and its potential for growth is truly endless. African business is the future - together we can move it to the forefront of global discussions”, Stiegeler added.
Speaking on the need for a centralized African platform, Thulisile Manzini, acting CEO of Brand South Africa said: "Brand South Africa has had its own pavilion at WEF in Davos for many years. Consolidating efforts with other African stakeholders for a joint presence in Davos is a novel idea to strengthen our message as a region".
Speaking further for the need for a dedicated platform for Africa, which Africa House 2021 will provide at the WEF annual meeting, Michael Rheinegger, Managing Partner, rainbow unlimited said "a number of African executives who regularly attend the WEF in Davos have indicated a strong interest in having more discussion about uniquely African topics".
Notable representatives present at the discussion include Charlene Chen, Director of Aza, Senegal; Nadja Batista, Project lead at Janngo, Ivory coast; Karim El Christy, board member and CEO of property arm, Travco group, Italy; Rainer-Marc Frey, vice chairman, Lornho Switzerland; Khaya Gobodo, managing director, wealth and investments, Old Mutual South Africa; Sven Gardner, founding partner 30Thirty Capital, Zambia; Lutz Hegemann, head, Novartis Sub-saharan Africa Business, Novartis Switzerland; Thulisile Manzoni, CEO, Brand South Africa, South Africa.
Others include Jean-Louis Njemba, executive senior vice president, Chambre de Commerce et d'industries Suisse, Sao Tome et Principe; Antonio Nunes, CEO, Angola Cables, Angola; Monika Puri, Head, industrial relations global access, Roche Switzerland; Verena Utzinger, President, Swiss African business circle; Mario Wilhelm, head, middle East and Africa, Public sector solutions; Swiss Re-management limited, Switzerland and Sola Yomi-Ajayi, country CEO, United Bank For Africa Plc. USA, Africa.
The World Economic Forum remains the most notable creative force for engaging the world's top leaders in collaborative activities to shape global, regional and industry agendas at the beginning of each year.
The theme of this year’s meeting was ‘Stakeholders for a Cohesive and Sustainable World’.