Thursday, 18 June 2009

WEF: Football, phones and food

The World Economic Forum in Cape Town last week brought together the public, private and non-governmental sector, as well as media and commentators on Africa.

Here, we summarise the sessions on the 2010 FIFA World Cup, the mobile revolution in Africa, and the agricultural sector.

FIFA World Cup 2010: Building a Legacy for Africa
  • Danny Jordaan, CEO 2010 FIFA Wolrd Cup Organising Committee: We recognise that hosting a major event can contribute to an integrated local government, better infrastructure etc. We are putting this country on the coffee table of the world. You can’t have a FIFA that is rich in a country that is poor. They said don’t do it in Africa, but FIFA is in the best financial position it has been in for 100 years, with 70% of profits going back in.
  • Kgalema Petrus Motlanthe, Deputy President, South Africa: The AU Summit in 2007 agreed the World Cup was for the whole of Africa. The key challenge is to extend the connectivity with the rest of the continent.
  • Michael Jordaan, CEO, First National Bank: Recognising we’re not there yet is key – South Africans work well under pressure. We will get there. Often the benefits of hosting a World Cup are over-estimated. It’s not just about money, it is about sport, branding, clearing up misperceptions. Legacy thinking is a great way to plan your business, family or government – we hope that we can use the momentum of 2010 to continue good work afterwards.
  • Helen Zille, Premier of the Western Cape Province: The legacy of 2010 will be that we change the perception of what African can do, we show that we can produce the best World Cup ever seen, delivered on time, on budget, with unity. If we put as much effort in to our education as we do into our sport, we'd solve a lot of problems.
    Five key legacy pillars of the FIFA World Cup 2010:
    Ø Infrastructure
    Ø Job creation
    Ø Tourism
    Ø Nation building
    Ø Country branding

    The Mobile Revolution
  • Ory Okollo, founder, Ushahidi: What’s next for the mobile story beyond basic applications? How to lower cost, how to get networks to talk to each other. We need to move the conversation beyond penetration to commercial and development opportunities. But mobile development doesn’t always have to be connected to social good. We are human, we need to communicate – whether African or not. Mobile development should focus on enabling communication and making money doing that, everything that comes on top is extra.
  • Wolfgang Lehmacher, CEO, GeoPost Intercontinental: Hurdles in infrastructure are not so much hurdles, but drivers of innovation.
  • Michael Joseph, CEO, Safaricom: 70% of Africa’s economy is informal – and they need methods of communications to work too, which also impacts social life, health, education etc. The next revolution is mobile payments. Mobile money will fundamentally change the face of society.
  • Nicholas Nesbitt, CEO, KenCall: The future is not about having a laptop anymore. It’s about how you get the information you need when you need it. Technology can make national and global content accessible.

    Africa: The World’s Potential Breadbasket?
  • Sylvia Matthews Burwell, President, Global Development Program, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation: There’s no silver bullet but we are optimistic that the green revolution can succeed, working in strong partnerships.
  • Harish Manwani, President, Asia, Africa, Central and Eastern Europe, Unilever: Why the commitment to food security? No choice. Most businesses today depend on emerging markets for growth. Three themes in food security – Sustainable agriculture, engagement with small farmers, public-private partnerships. Africa needs the ambition of not just solving hunger but creating a better world. Changing the mindset comes from government policy change and local farmers who need to understand how they can make money –key to the green revolution.
  • Kofi Annan, Co-Chair of WEF on Africa: People don’t starve in democracies. We need sustained leadership and commitment to agriculture. But we also need to commit our own resources and show we are serious.

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