Davos – a story of hope

Published 25 January 2017, by Dr Iqbal Survé, Business Report at 09:05am 

I have just returned from Davos, and you may ask why one would leave a beautiful African summer to travel to a Swiss Alpine resort where the temperature plunges below -15°C. I have said before that Europe in winter is only good for skiing.

But WEF in Klosters, Davos, is becoming increasingly important, not only for economic growth, but also for the welfare of people on many levels, from education, health and mindfulness.

WEF took place between January 17- 20. This year’s theme was “Responsive and Responsible Leadership”, and now, more than ever this is what the world needs. Leaders in their fields who are responsible, who bear in mind that their actions affect billions of people.

But there is the “Other Davos” that is very rarely spoken about, the Davos where a handful of people attend invite-only events. There discussions revolve around how technology is harnessed to save lives; highlighting the plight of human trafficking and also providing a glimpse into the horrific conditions that refugees face every day.

It is also a space where the African agenda can be pushed, and while at times it seemed like an insurmountable task, the continent is slowly starting to feel the positive effects of constant lobbying.

Last week I was appointed to the Stewardship Board of the WEF “Shaping the Future of Information and Entertainment System Initiative”. It is here that the African agenda can be pushed even harder to ensure that Africa benefits from the information and technology revolution.

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Top 8 #WEF2017 issues as SA heads to Davos

Published, 13 January 2017 by Adri Senekal, Business Report at 07:42am

Eight issues are prevalent as we head to Davos for the World Economic Forum (WEF) 2017. The Sekunjalo Group has, for the past years, headed annually to Davos for the powerhouse WEF, led by its chairman, Dr Iqbal Surve.

Each year Davos wrestles with a set of different issues. This year is no different with a number of key themes meant to drive the conversation:  the Fourth Industrial Revolution; Responsive and Responsible Leadership, Global Collaboration; Building Positive Identities, Fixing Market Capitalism and Restoring Economic Growth.

In this wide-ranging interview with Business Report, Dr Surve outlines the eight top of mind issues that the Sekunjalo Group of Companies takes to Davos this year:

  1. Shoring up foreign direct investment in SA

Foreign direct investment (FDI) is what will make the biggest impact on our economic fortunes and attending WEF gives South African business leaders the opportunity to campaign for this.

In the 10 years that I have been attending WEF, I have relentlessly pursued the story of a country that is worth investing in.

Going to Davos gives us a unique opportunity to tap investors, change the narrative about South Africa and position the country as a good investment opportunity. It is FDI that will lead to job creation, stimulate the economy and build our cities.

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Connecting people

Published 12 December 2016 by Adri Senekal De Wet, Independent Online at 07:40am

It is almost 140 years since Alexander Graham Bell demonstrated the telephone to Queen Victoria followed by the first installed telephone in Britain.

Telephone exchanges followed, allowing cities to connect. The National Telephone Company was formed, then the General Post Office. In 1896, the National Telephone Company was taken over by the General Post Office. In 1912 it became the primary supplier of telecommunications services. Today it is known as British Telecommunications, or BT.

More than a decade ago, BT’s vision for Africa led the company to partner with a (then) medium size black-owned and managed diversified public company, Sekunjalo Investments. BT rooted their business expansion objectives on partnerships with visionary, trusted and sustainable business partners and networks.

The proof of that successful partnership is clear: BT grew to become a dominant-leading telecommunication provider on the African continent. At the weekend, I spoke to BT’s Africa, Middle East and Asia Pacific President, Kevin Taylor,during his visit to the country. He told me he was extremely excited about Africa and the strategic relationship with Sekunjalo.

Heartbeat

Networks are the heartbeat of any economic growth strategy for any country, company, government, household or individual. Everybody wants to be connected – from the president of a country to a sweeper. Some need the connectivity to implement strategies, others to protect their countries, while some just want to share feelings.

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