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Africa - The continent of opportunity

Arrop Zutshi, global president and managing partner at Frost & Sullivan. Arrop Zutshi, global president and managing partner at Frost & Sullivan.

CBN attended Frost & Sullivan's Growth, Innovation and Leadership 2015 forum, held at the Table Bay Hotel. We - along with the event’s massive turnout – spent an insightful day learning about the opportunities Africa has to offer as well as the enablers and solutions to help make use of these opportunities.

The topics discussed at this year’s forum included visions for Africa, digital transformation, the impact of connectivity and convergence, business confidence as well as business models and success. Frost & Sullivan managed to achieve what many forums do not - and that is an interactive, fast-paced and successful forum bringing top CEOs and decision-makers under one roof to collaborate successfully.

The main message the private sector laid out at the event was in order to be successful in South Africa, you have to be successful within the environment you currently face.

"If you simply woke up this morning, you are facing a juggernaut of change and business evolution," said Mark Simoncelli, global director of Growth Implementation Solutions at Frost & Sullivan.  

Panel discussions and presentations urged businesses to accept problems such as load shedding, government regulations, BEE, etc. and to incorporate this into its business structure. It was discussed that keeping one’s business growth small purely due to the distrust of government will not work in your favour.

"Corporate sector has a role to play in communicating and working with government," the panel said. "We have to succeed whatever gets thrown at us. The environment is not helping us but we must grow."

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Businesses should realise that this is the field you have to play in - make it work and the opportunities will come. One cannot expect government to drive investment and growth within the industry.

"We as a country we are under-performing, but I wouldn't invest anywhere else,” said Dr Iqbal Surve, chairman, founder and CEO of Sekunjalo Investments. “The opportunities here are just too great.”

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