Oxford Africa Business Forum 2020: ‘The Youth of Africa: Accessing the Opportunity, Navigating the Challenge’

The Oxford Africa Business Forum is in its 11th year and is hosted annually by Saïd Business School’s Oxford Africa Business Alliance. It brings together distinguished leaders from top companies, innovative start-ups, government, and civil society from across Africa with thought leaders, students, and alumni from Oxford University to discuss business in Africa.

Convening over 350 delegates and a diverse range of speakers, the Forum will offer unrivalled insights into the opportunities and challenges Africa’s fast-growing youth population present. A gala dinner, held at Balliol College, will open the Forum on Friday 13 March, followed by the full day Forum on Saturday 14 March at Oxford Saïd. The Forum is livestreamed to ensure that conversations with the boldest innovators and decision makers in Africa can be shared with a global audience.

‘The conversation about Africa is shifting from one of “deficits” and “gaps” to one about opportunities, prospects, ventures and creativity,’ stated Tammy Brophy, Chair of the Oxford Africa Business Alliance and Oxford Saïd’s Africa Initiative Manager. ‘This Forum provides a vibrant platform for thinking about Africa’s future and the role Africa’s youth plays in Her success.’

Approximately three quarters of Africa’s population is below 35 years of age, making Africa the world’s youngest continent. The African Union’s African Youth Charter states that Africa’s youth is the continent’s largest resource and, if harnessed, Africa’s growing youth population can drive political, social, cultural and economic transformation on the continent.

How government and business leaders on the continent manage Africa’s “youth bulge” will determine how economies are able to access the opportunity and navigate the challenge.  The theme of this year’s Oxford Africa Business Forum will move beyond basic education. It will examine models of non-traditional skills development including entrepreneurship skills training, coding, and corporate academies, and it will tackle the most pressing questions facing the continent:

  • What will it take from a skills development perspective to create the jobs we need at the scale and pace needed given the high level of unemployment in Africa?
  • From a business perspective, what are the opportunities and challenges underlying this demographic dividend?
  • What have been some of the benefits that early responders have yielded?

Prominent political and business figures that are confirmed as speakers include:

  • David Sengeh, Minister of Basic and Senior Secondary Education, Sierra Leone Government
  • Gagan Gupta, President and CEO of Infrastructure and Logistics, and Regional Head for Central Africa, Olam
  • Gossy Ukanwoke, Founder, BAU Research & Development


Samuel Darko, who is studying the full-time MBA at Saïd Business School and Co-chair of the Africa Alliance said: ‘The continent’s youthful population presents a powerful opportunity for accelerated economic growth and innovation. Yet this demographic also presents economic and social challenges. This is particularly exciting for the African student body as we promote an interactive and integrated dialogue between current and future young leaders who seek opportunities to contribute to a more prosperous African continent. Now more than ever, it is imperative that there is a seat at the table for Africa’s young leaders but also conducive political and economic conditions for us to be successful entrepreneurs and business leaders”’

Tammy Brophy continues to explain that “the Forum is designed to provide an inclusive platform to bring business and society together through the lens of regulators, academics, scholars, entrepreneurs and business leaders. It focuses on some of the business opportunities that exist on the continent, explores challenges faced by entrepreneurs and investors doing business in Africa and offers a prognosis for future growth. We are proud to have had over 11% of each Oxford MBA cohort hailing from Africa in recent years, which is significantly higher than other business schools, where the average is 2%. This Forum is one of the ways to demonstrate our commitment to creating meaningful networks and opportunities within Africa for our students, alumni and stakeholders.’

Visit http://www.cvent.com/d/phqzyq for more details about the Forum, including speakers, agenda and booking information.

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