Africa Insights 2019 Innovation, Information and Acceleration

An overview of what is happening on the African continent.

It has become a relatively well-worn fact that over the past two decades the African economy has grown faster than the world economy by some two percent per annum. This translates into impressive headlines:

  • Africa has 400 companies with revenues of more than $1 billion and 700 companies with revenue of more than $500 million. 
  • The fastest growing economy in the world over this period is Ethiopia, having averaged more than nine percent per annum.
  • Jumia Technologies stands out as an African unicorn, with a market cap of $1 billion.

Along with fast economic growth, Africa is undergoing impressive urban growth. By 2030, it is expected that six of the world's 41 megacities will be African, including Cairo, Lagos, Kinshasa, Johannesburg, Luanda and Dar es Salaam. This puts an imperative on policymakers to establish competitive host cities for the newly urbanised. Smart cities are arguably a key arrow in the policymaker's quiver.

What is less well-known – or often little known and many times misunderstood – is the detail beneath these headlines.  Understanding the drivers, dividers, diversions, distractions and complexity that make up this continent, is key to building stronger businesses, implementing more effective policies and developing paths to prosperity for our companies and countries. 


  • Unicorns, Dragons, Lightning Birds and Lions (An Economic Overview of What's Happening on the Continent)
  • Africa 2035: Can a Focus on Key Strategies Accelerate Africa's Transformation to Prosperity? 
  • Smart Cities in the African Context: Inclusive Urban Economies  
  • Blackouts to Smart Grids: Driving the Energy Transition in Africa 
  • Mobile Tech: Bringing Financial Inclusion and Disruption to the Continent
  • Agriculture Transformation and Innovation

Speakers confirmed to date:

Please note that this is a half day conference.

Starts: 08:30

Ends: 13:00

Group discounts of 20% for bookings of 5 or more.

Companies wishing to sponsor this conference can contact Katie Kilpatrick on

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  • Professor Adrian Saville
    Adrian Saville’s qualifications include a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) (cum laude), M.Com (cum laude) and PhD (Economics), which he completed at the University of Natal in 1997 and for which he was awarded the Economics Society of South Africa’s Founders Medal.  He is a UNESCO laureate and a matriculant of Linacre College (Oxford).  He has completed programmes in value investing and competitive strategy at New York’s Columbia University and Harvard Business School in Boston.

    In 1994, while completing his doctorate in economics, Adrian formed an investment vehicle which became the forerunner to Cannon Asset Managers which he founded in 1998.  In 2017 Bidvest Financial Services acquired Cannon Asset Managers. Today Adrian serves as Chief Executive at Cannon Asset Managers.

    Adrian has experience in managing all the major asset classes and has successfully combined teaching and business, having lectured at the University of the Witwatersrand, the University of KwaZulu-Natal, the University of Pretoria, London School of Business, Kelley School of Business, Rotterdam School of Management and the Estonian Business School.  He has held a Professorship of Economics, Finance & Strategy at the Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS) since 2003, where he teaches in the fields of macroeconomics, investment finance and strategy.  Adrian has received the Excellence in Teaching Award at GIBS one ten occasions since 2007.  In 2012 he was nominated for the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Business Professor of the Year Award and in 2014 he received the Central and East European Management Development Association award in teaching excellence.  Adrian’s successful career has encompassed consulting widely to government and the corporate world, including serving as an economic consultant to Visa South Africa. He has presented to global audiences in many destinations, including Botswana, Brazil, Chile, Estonia, France, India, Japan, Germany, Ghana, Kenya, Netherlands, Nigeria, Singapore, United Kington, United States, Zambia and Zimbabwe

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