In the spirit of the Davos Manifesto 2020, the World Economic Forum is launching the Davos Friends of Africa Growth Platform (AGP) community to mobilize the global community for collective action to meet the 100 million-by-2025 job creation goal for this business-led initiative.
The World Economic Forum, in collaboration with the Forum’s Global Shapers and African start-ups community, is kicking off a 100-day social media campaign to sign up African SMEs and start-ups that wish to join AGP. The goal is to reach 1 million jobs in 2020.
The presidents of Botswana and Ghana have personally pledged their commitment to participate as member countries of AGP. Sipho M. Pityana, Chairman of AngloGold Ashanti, has also pledged support to be Founding Partner of Davos Friends of AGP.
Launched at the World Economic Forum on Africa in Cape Town, South Africa, last September, the Africa Growth Platform aims to address the job creation crisis by creating100 million jobs in SMEs and start-ups by 2025. Two thirds of Africa’s 420 million young people are currently unemployed. AGP will bring together governments, investors and entrepreneurs to enhance funding prospects, create better enabling environments for business growth, and help Africa’s community of start-up enterprises grow and compete in international markets.
The founding members of the platform are Alibaba Group, A. T. Kearney, Dalberg Group, Export Trading Group, United States African Development Foundation, and Zenith Bank.
“The Africa Growth Platform (AGP) recognizes that one of the most compelling ways to create new economic opportunities and support Africa’s digital transformation is to invest in the capacity building and empowerment of entrepreneurs and small businesses,” said Brian Wong, Vice-President of Global Initiatives for Alibaba Group. “We are honoured to serve as a founding member of the AGP as we work to enhance global cooperation among all stakeholders and to do our part to inspire, train and support entrepreneurs in Africa in order to achieve more inclusive growth.”
The AGP will do this in three ways: first, by securing commitments from governments to implement policy reforms aimed at stimulating and accelerating business growth. Second, 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.
“With more than half of its population being under the age of 35, Botswana aspires to address the unemployment challenge through, among others, entrepreneurship, support to SMMEs and start-ups. We therefore welcome the AGP’s objective to scale 100 million SMEs and start-ups by 2025 and look forward to being an active participant and beneficiary of the initiative,” said Mokgweetsi Eric Keabetswe Masisi, President of Botswana.
To strengthen the institutional support to deliver the AGP and other key initiatives in the region, the Forum has also established an Africa Regional Stewardship Board with Sipho M. Pityana, Chairman of AngloGold Ashanti, and Oby Ezekwesili, Richard von Weizacher Fellow, Robert Bosch Academy as the inaugural Co-Chairs for 2020.
“I’m honoured and humbled by the opportunity to Co-Chair the World Economic Forum’s new Regional Stewardship Board (RSB),” said Sipho M. Pityana. “I look forward to working with my fellow Co-Chair, Oby Ezekwesili, the team and like-minded stakeholders to achieve greater African economic integration and promoting peace and stability while addressing trade obstacles, climate change and opportunities and challenges of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.”