CAPE TOWN – At a high-profile meeting at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos on Wednesday morning, attended by a number of African presidents, including Botswana, DRC, Senegal and Ghana, the WEF initiative for an Africa Growth Platform (AGP) received a huge boost from a number of companies including Alibaba and Sekunjalo Investment Holdings (Sekunjalo).
The WEF initiative was launched in August 2019 with the goal of helping Africa’s community of start-up enterprises scale and compete in international markets.
Sekunjalo announced at the end of 2019 that it had entered into partnership with China’s Ultrain to build Africa’s largest public Blockchain – The African Chain.
On Wednesday the company pledged to assist the Africa Growth Platform by providing its substantial e-commerce investments to enable African farmers and entrepreneurs to use the platform to be ranked according to fairness of the supply chain.
Sekunjalo’s Chairman Dr Iqbal Survé speaking at the event and afterwards, reaffirmed that Africans needed to own their own platforms and their destiny. He committed to assisting the AGP with software engineers, ICT skills and the brains trust necessary to fulfil the promise of this initiative.
With the support pledged on Wednesday, the AGP is on track to attain its targets by the next WEF on Africa meeting scheduled to be held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in September.
Following his remarks at WEF yesterday on the integration of the digital economy into the African landscape, Dr Survé, who also chairs the Belt and Road Africa Fund, a USD1 billion fund that is committed to growing commerce across the continent, also encouraged Chinese investors to support the AGP initiative.
2020 marks the 50th hosting of the World Economic Forum and the 12th of year of participation for Dr Survé who, acknowledged by the chair for his contributions to WEF and beyond, remarked that: “WEF continues to be an important gathering point for conversation and discussion around many of the world’s most pressing challenges. However, the time for action is here.
“Africa is a continent of many different countries with individual cultural and economic perspectives. But a united Africa through a digital platform such as The Africa Growth Platform is a powerful force for good that could serve to not only economically sustain the region, but address global issues such as climate change, economic inequality, food security and more.”
According to the WEF website, the Africa Growth Platform will help African start-ups to scale-up 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 African Growth Platform is a timely intervention that will ultimately benefit all stakeholders – capitalists and more – and we look forward to actively bringing this to fruition,” concluded Survé.
WEF continues until 24 January with digital inclusion and technological innovation remaining high in the agenda, a conversation Sekunjalo continues to be an important part of.
This article first appeared in the Business Report Online