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Interview with Africa Business Convention (ABC)’s Project Director, Ogho Okiti

Interview with Africa Business Convention (ABC)’s Project Director, Ogho Okiti

The Africa Business Convention (ABC), Africa’s largest investment conference and exhibition will be held on 7 – 8 February 2023 at Eko Hotels, Lagos. BusinessDay speaks with Ogho Okiti, the Project Director on what the audience should expect this year.

I think it’s important to start by asking, what is the Africa Business Convention (ABC) about?
When fully formed, the Africa Business Convention (ABC) is a platform for the aggregation and advancement of Africa’s business interests for the continent’s economic growth and prosperity. At the core of the ABC are networking, exchanges and connections that promote policies, generate capital and investment, and build partnerships for prosperity on the continent.

Given the creation of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), the understanding that the continent is the last global frontier, and the scope of poverty on the continent, we see Africa as the centre and future of significant growth dynamics in the global economic context and ABC at the centre of it.

Why a convention and who is it for?

The Africa Business Convention (ABC) is designed as the convening of all those interested and committed to the promotion of Africa’s business interests. This includes government and business leaders, policymakers, investors and entrepreneurs, not only those operating in Africa but all those connected to and committed to the growth and prosperity of the continent. It brings together all the elements that promote Africa’s prosperity and businesses and institutions doing that. So, as the name suggests, participation is by organisational representation.

What can one get to experience when attending ABC this year?

ABC 2023 follows the successful conclusion of last year’s convention, which featured 12 plenary sessions, 41 speakers, and over 5,000 attendees online and in person. This year is going to be bigger and better. We expect to have over 100 speakers, 7 plenary sessions and 9 breakout sessions, all looking at the areas of trade, investments, partnerships, innovation and technology, agriculture and jobs in Africa, with a theme “Africa Connected”.

Confirmed partners and speakers include Mohamad Darwish, the CEO of IHS Nigeria, Akintoye Akindele, Chairman of Platform Capital and Von Kemedi, the CEO of Arila. Other speakers include Thapelo Tsheole, CEO of the Botswana Stock Exchange, Johel Blanchard, Partner at Stratego in Luxembourg, Tola Adeyemi, CEO of KPMG West Africa, Peter Quartey, Director of Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER), University of Ghana, Adeolu Adewumi – Zer, the former CEO of Allianz Nigeria, Stacy Steemers, the President Rest of Africa at AFEX, Uyi Akpata, Regional Senior Partner for PwC in West Africa, Janet du Preez, Founder Engagement Dynamics and Rajneesh Narula, Director Dunning Africa Centre etc.

For impact, ABC 2023 events are broken into two – the main and side events. The main events feature executive conversations, keynote presentations and thought leadership sessions by experts, policymakers, business leaders and innovators focusing on Africa. The side events feature special activities and sessions tailored to fit participants’ varying interests ranging from investment opportunity expo, deal brokerage, smart project exhibition, ideas and innovation pitching, and media chat to regional investment fora.

What sort of speakers and panel events can one expect to see on the agenda?

ABC 2023 will feature over 100 speakers from a wide range of experiences. I have already mentioned some of them. These speakers have been carefully selected for their experiences, knowledge, and perspectives. They cut across business leadership, government, consulting, academia etc. We are very fortunate to attract both Africans and non-Africans working and doing business on the continent to speak from their experiences. Besides the names I have already shared, the full speakers’ list can be found on the event’s website – africabusinessconvention.com

Which sponsors and partners are on board for #ABC2023?

Our partners are amazing in many ways. First, our Diamond partners for #ABC2023 are returning partners from ABC 2022 – IHS, Platform Capital and Arila. Second, they recognise that ABC is a growing platform for the aggregation of Africa’s business interests, so they make contributions way beyond the financial commitment they have made. This year, we also have strategic partners that include KPMG, the Lagos Business School, Africa Speakers Group and we expect Nestle, VerifyMe, and some others to be partners in the coming days. Negotiations are still ongoing with many other companies who see the value in associating with ABC in February and the all-year-round exposure via the print and digital platforms. The #ABC2023 platform is critical to raising the profile of both our sponsors and the event itself.

How will the event work as a hybrid event and what can I expect with the digital ticket?

Building on the success of the previous year which had over 5000 in-person and online participants, #ABC2023 promises digital access for those unable or unwilling to travel. Participants attending remotely will have to register on the event website for free to access their digital tickets. All content will be streamed live on the streaming platform. More information can be gotten on the website and the event brochure. Delegates can follow the official social media handles of #ABC2023 for real-time updates about the event.

Read also: ‘Doing business in Nigeria is challenging but lucrative’

What sort of Networking Opportunities are there at #ABC2023?

The event provides senior executives with a platform to expand their professional network, identify potential partners and establish new business relationships with their counterparts across the continent. The convention promises a social event happening on the opening night of the event. The welcome reception dinner aims to help ease delegates of the stress of their journey to the event and introduce them to a unique dinner experience only ABC can offer. Participants have a chance to engage in high-profile conversations with co-delegates in a warm atmosphere.

What other experience will delegates enjoy asides from the keynotes and plenary sessions?

Innovators and project designers will have the opportunity to pitch ideas and showcase viable ideas and projects to stakeholders. Product and service providers will have a huge opportunity to showcase their brands and unique services to attendees who may be in search of such offerings. Investors will attend with the mindset of finding potentially valuable deals for investment.

#ABC2023 is a large gathering of Africa’s top deal makers that presents an opportunity to initiate and possibly conclude deals in one meeting.

For more information, visit https://africabusinessconvention.com