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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Young Business Leaders of Africa to Meet in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

By Jeff Otieno

Africa's emerging leaders in business will converge next month in the Ethiopian capital to discuss investment opportunities and challenges facing the continent in global trade.

The meeting, first of its kind, will be held in Addis Ababa and will be attended by approximately 200 young businessmen and women.

Some of the young business leaders expected at the invitation-only meeting are Kenya's Titus Gitau, Director of MEA Fertilizers, Arthur Mutambara, Deputy Prime Minister of Zimbabwe; Khumo Shuenyane, Head of M&A for MTN, the cellular giant; Ngozi Edozien, Head of West Africa at Actis, one of the largest Private Equity firms in Africa, Amara Konneh, Minister for Planning and Economic Affairs (Liberia) and Alex Okosi, Head of MTV Africa.

The leaders are expected to discuss the theme 'How does Africa become prosperous' and also spearhead partnership between countries, companies and organizations in the continent.

The participants have been chosen for their distinguished leadership in business, government and non-profit organizations and are also viewed as the next face of Africa in business.

According to the organizer of the event, South African based African Leadership Network (ALN), the meeting will take place between November 3 and 6 and will be chaired by Sim Tshabalala, CEO of Standard Bank South Africa; Dr Eleni Gabre-Madhin, founder and CEO of the Ethiopian Commodity Exchange; and Bill Egbe, President of Coca-Cola South Africa.

Sessions will also focus on understanding the current business environment in Africa, crafting a vision for Africa's prosperity, outlining practical steps towards prosperity, and how a prosperous Africa can be better managed.

"We will rise beyond our challenges and capture our opportunities only if our continent's top young leaders come together for the common good of Africa. Not the usual suspects, but the continent's new generation of young, dynamic leaders who will shape Africa's next 25 years," said Fred Swaniker, ALN co-founder, in a statement.

Mr Swaniker said it was urgent the continent's emerging leaders collaborate in problem solving, adding that ALN will provide the platform for discussing the problem.

Acha Leke, McKinsey Director and also ALN co-founder said the key aim of the network was to collaborate towards addressing "the big challenges of our time, which is creating prosperity for Africa's masses"

Key sponsors of the inaugural gathering include the MTN Group, Goldman Sachs, the World Bank, international advertising agency TBWA, and Ethiopian Airlines.

ALN is an invitation-only network of influential and dynamic leaders who are poised to shape the future of Africa over the next 50 years. It aims to bring leaders together as a catalyst for development and change across the private and public sectors throughout the continent.

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