ABD @ 10 Introduces new Innovative Format for Global Reach

Verena Utzinger (File Photo SABC)

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Africa Business Day (ABD) took on a new virtual form in 2020 in a bid to ensure with certainty that it could be conducted in a safe and meaningful way in the current context of COVID-19. The innovation coincides with its 10 anniversary.

  Mrs. Verena Utzinger, President of Swiss-African Business Circle (SABC) sees the development as “our commitment to find new innovative formats for exchange between the SABC communities across continents.” 

The virtual format saw a 50% increase in participation and allowed for internationally based participants from more than 30 countries to take part; including 12 Swiss Ambassadors based in African countries and 6 African Ambassadors from the continent based in Switzerland. 

“The new digital tools we have embraced since April this year will only help foster more connection amongst SABC members and the broader Swiss-African business community,” adds the President.

This year’s edition held on 23 October with a theme: ‘Emerging Business Models’ and with the line-up of a number of high-calibre speakers who shared their experience and expertise on the topic.

A highlight of the programme included a one-to-one conversation with André Hoffmann, Vice Chair of the Board, Roche Holding Ltd. where he outlined his vision on a number of topics including long-term and sustainable business models, the interplay between the public and private sectors as well as innovation and education in the Swiss-African context.

Three keynote speakers set the tone for the day and shared their perspective on business model and innovation. They were: Alex Osterwalder, Inventor of the Business Model Canvas and Founder of Strategyzer.com; Emilia Chisango, Finance Director, Cassava Smartech Zimbabwe Limited (part of the Econet Group) and Padraic Ward, Head of Pharma International, Roche.

Throughout the event, an important underlying theme was the need for inclusive business models that drive shared growth and prosperity. These models help to serve a broader customer base, include the informal sector, foster collaboration across industries and redefine interaction across the supply chain. The event host, Roche, provided several examples of inclusive business models in his presentation and other participations.

According to Bart Vanhawere, Area Head, Africa: “We have a long-term commitment to Africa and recognize that our ability to provide sustainable access to diagnostics and treatments is interlinked with our sustainable business strategy. We strive to be a partner that supports innovative solutions that strengthen health systems long-term and through our growing presence across the continent, we look forward to continuing working with all stakeholders to achieve a healthier future for all Africans.”

During the afternoon breakout sessions representatives of Airbus, Asoko Insights, Bolloré Logistic

Co-Creation Hub, KPMG Switzerland, LafargeHolcim, Nestlé, Pulse, Roche, and SICPA took a deeper took a deeper dive into the topic of business model innovation.

The event once again took place under the patronage of the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) and this year’s edition was hosted by Roche.

The Africa Business Day is the indispensable annual platform in Switzerland for doing business in and with Africa. Africa Business Day, organised by the Swiss-African Business Circle, takes place under the patronage of the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) and brings together more than 250 participants including CEOs, members of the Board, business development managers, export managers and investors. During the event, African Embassies/Missions present investment opportunities in their respective countries at country desks in the dedicated exhibition area. More information about the Africa Business Day at: www.sabc.ch/africa-business-day.