Reflections from Davos for Business in Africa

Sibongile Nkawu: +27 11 771 4390

​​​​Additional Forum Information

Registration: 17h45 - 18h00

Forum Start Time: 18h00​​​​​​​​

Length: 1 hour 30 minutes

Cocktails will be served after the event


Join GIBS experts Prof.Lyal White, Matthew Birtch, Abdullah Verachia, Professor Nick Binedell and Adrian Kitimbo as they reflect on key lessons from Davos and how these will impact on business in Africa and the BRICS countries. 2016 has got off to a bumpy start with a resurgence of geopolitical turmoil and increasing volatility in stock markets across the global and especially in key emerging markets. Is China's slow down as bad as some suggest? Will there be an upturn in the oil price and how will a recovery in the oil market impact us here in South Africa? How can we learn from countries like India which seem to be fairing far better? What is the role of innovate and technology in all of this? We will examine the key themes from Davos, and assess how business can remain relevant in a climate of change and uncertainty.  ​​

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  • Professor Lyal White

    Prof. Lyal White is the founding director of the Centre for Dynamic Markets (CDM) at the Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS), University of Pretoria, where he is an Associate Professor in International Business focusing on political economy and strategy in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

    Prof. White is widely published in news media, academic journals and books, most recently as co-editor of "The Changing Dynamics of International Business in Africa" (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015), "Africa-to-Africa Internationalisation" (Palgrave MacMillan, 2016) and chapter contributor of "Africans Investing in Africa" (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015). He has worked in a range of sectors covering themes from investment rationale, strategy, competitiveness and general management in Dynamic Markets to reform, growth and development, and comparative politics in Africa and Latin America. He is also coordinating research and dialogue geared toward improving Africa's political and commercial relations with Latin America and understanding the role of new players in Africa and the world.


    Comparative political economy and strategic thinking in the context of International Business in Africa and Latin America are his principal areas of focus. Related to this, a key area of interest lies in understanding the exciting but complex environment of business in Dynamic Markets, and what is required by firms and individuals to improve their competitive performance in new markets. Through the lens of institutions and how institutional evolution underpins economic performance, Prof. White has developed the Dynamic Market Index (DMI), which measures and compares institutional progress and performance in markets across the globe. His research and writing emphasises contextually-driven strategy, which is evident in the many academic and executive programmes he runs, not to mention his advisory work.

    Prof. White has lived and worked in South Africa, Rwanda, Argentina, Colombia, Morocco and the US, and is associated with a number of institutions across the globe. He has also taught at the University of Cape Town in South Africa, Universidad de Los Andes in Colombia, Al Akhawayn University in Morocco, Science Po – Bordeaux, France, and at the Kelly School of Business - Indiana University. Prof. White lectures regularly at CEDEP in Fontainebleau, France, Strathmore Business School in Kenya, and was a Visiting Scholar at the Center for Latin American studies (CLAS) at UC Berkeley in the US.

    Prof. White is committed to enhancing cultural understanding between countries and building commercial and political ties between Africa and the world. He is of the firm belief that strong institutional and cultural understanding will help harness development and long-term prosperity for the masses in these dynamic regions.

  • Matthew Birtch
    Matthew is a Faculty member in Strategy at GIBS, and previously was the Head of Strategy and Africa Deal Strategy Leader at two global advisory firms. He has close to 20 years’ experience within strategic advisory. Having led high deal value local and international engagements in Sub Saharan Africa, Middle East, East Asia and Europe.
    Matthew has been responsible in scaling client businesses as well as driving growth agendas. Having lived in these territories he has first-hand knowledge of the contextual business environment allowing him to tailor appropriate solutions for businesses seeking to drive profit in a sustainable manner.
    Matthew focuses on Emerging Markets and has provided solutions around the assessment of the viability of firms with a particular focus on commercial due diligence of corporate entities participating in a Merger or Acquisition.
    Matthew lectures on senior Executive programs and MBA classes in various institutions, presents at public forums as well as being a commentator on CNBC Africa, Bloomberg Africa and CCTV-9 news in Beijing.
  • Professor Nick Binedell

    Nick Binedell is the Founding Director and Sasol Chair of Strategic Management of the Gordon Institute of Business Science, a Business School situated in Illovo, Johannesburg and established in January 2000, by the University of Pretoria.

    After an initial career in the industry in the Mining and Manufacturing sectors in sales and general management in the Barlow Rand Group, Nick has focused his career for the past 20 years in the area of business education.

    In 1998 he was invited to establish a new business school focused on meeting the individual and corporate needs of business in South Africa.

    The school has rapidly established itself as a leading business school in South Africa with a strong focus on partnering with leading South African corporates and providing a high level of local and international business education. It was recently ranked as one of the top 40 global executive education providers by the London Financial Times.

    Nick is a determined traveler and explorer. His earlier roots included extensive travel and by the time he was ten he had lived in Zimbabwe, Germany, Yemen, Kenya, South Africa and Britain. He has spent five years in the United States and in the past three years has traveled to Sydney, Shanghai, Dubai, Prague, Budapest, Lagos as well as European and American cities.

    His area of expertise is in the field of business strategy formulation and his academic and consulting work, although dominantly in South Africa, includes work in the United States, Europe and Australia.
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