2020 Africa Shared Value Leadership e-Summit To Discuss COVID-19 Business Challenges


By Ifeoma Asika

A network of African purpose-led Shared Value companies and leaders will participate in the continent’s first ever virtual Shared Value Leadership event from 2-5 June 2020. Digital conversations will focus on challenges faced by business in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, in particular how business has had to adapt and the economic recovery outlook for the region.

Titled Beyond Borders: 2020 Africa Shared Value Leadership eSummit, this virtual event is aimed at creating a platform for leaders to openly share their experiences and tough decisions made when facing such challenges. The purpose of the eSummit is to continue the Shared Value conversation, learn from each other and explore insights that can lead to solutions.

“The pandemic has changed our world; the degree to which governments and businesses are working together is unprecedented. Assisting communities and saving our economies is a common priority. As the African Union has said, with lockdowns across much of Africa the most potent weapon against COVID-19 is international cooperation and solidarity,” says CEO and Founder of the Shared Value Africa Initiative (SVAI) Tiekie Barnard. “There is immense power in joining forces to create collective impact at a scale far beyond what any one company could achieve alone.”

With the health and safety of delegates foremost on everyone’s mind, the organisers of the summit opted to re-curate the already planned summit content and open up the discussion to how business is finding solutions during COVID-19. The summit was originally scheduled to take place in Rwanda on 4-5 June 2020, and was to have been the fourth Africa Shared Value Leadership Summit.

While COVID-19 has caused massive hardship and economic slowdown, there is hope, says Barnard. The collaboration between business, government and other sectors across geographies is showing what can be achieved where there is common purpose. At the eSummit, speakers will share some COVID-19 initiatives that are already having a positive impact in our region.

The different webinar sessions during the Shared Value Week from 2-5 June will focus on finance, healthcare, entrepreneurship and innovation – critical areas that business needs to get behind for the region to recover. The aim of the organisers is to draw a global audience, to provide sessions and discussions that will be easily accessible and that will motivate companies and individuals to take action, re-look current strategies and operations in order to contribute to Africa’s economic recovery. The eSummit format includes keynotes, fireside chats, panels, roundtable and fishbowl discussions.

The first day, sponsored by Old Mutual, kicks off with a keynote address by Harvard Business School Professor and Co-Founder of the Shared Value Initiative, Mark Kramer, on creating Shared Value in a time of crisis. Discussions will lead into a CEO lunch with 10 business leaders from across the continent, who will share COVID-19 insights and learnings as they reflect on purpose-led leadership during a time of crisis.

Day two, sponsored by Abbott, will give attendees an opportunity to hear about the move to decentralise healthcare in Rwanda from the country’s Minister of Health, Dr. Daniel Ngamije. Then follows an interactive discussion on the challenges faced by the continent in funding and building healthcare solutions that can benefit all.

Day three, sponsored by the KCB Group, gives attendees the ability to interact with a range of Africa’s entrepreneurs who will be sharing their experiences as young leaders and how they see the world of business after COVID-19.

According to Shared Value advocate and Shared Value Africa Initiative Steering Committee member, Immaculata Segooa the eSummit will draw the attention of attendees to the Shared Value narrative emerging through the pandemic.

“I am observing with interest how countries are collaborating; scientists sharing findings in search for a vaccine across geographies; presidents making tough calls for the welfare of its citizens; political parties transcending their differences; church leaders praying for a solution; educators going beyond the call of duty to teach hygiene and prevention; healthcare providers, corporates, governments, NGOs, NPOs (although contained in our respective countries)… everyone coming together through surreal global activism to share the value we have amassed respectively for so long, in order to serve humanity,” she says.

During the eSummit, business leaders will discuss how businesses that are focused on “profit with purpose” can contribute to reducing inequality and building economic prosperity, thereby mitigating the risk and enhancing the profit potential of doing business on the continent. As with previous years, the UN Sustainable Development Goals will be a theme at the Summit as a guide to the business leaders on the goals that business can contribute to achieving in order to help to fix the social challenges a core part of their operations.

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