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Investor insights 6 August 2020

Driving conversations that matter

As the ripples of the C0VID-19 pandemic spread across the world, Standard Bank joined with to sponsor the Crisis Management for African Business Leaders webinar series. The series convened leading African business leaders in an online environment to explore best management practices to cope with the spread of COVID-19 in Africa.

Among the prominent leaders who participated were Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of UN Women; the President of Ghana, His Excellency, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo; Rob Shuter, Group President and CEO of MTN; Suzan Kereere, Global Head of Merchant Sales & Acquiring, Visa Inc.; Graca Machel, international advocate for women's and children's rights; Melinda Gates, philanthropist; and Sim Tshabalala, Group Chief Executive, Standard Bank Group.

“As African leaders face down the ongoing humanitarian and economic crises of COVID-19, is grateful to Standard Bank for its sponsorship that allows us to drive a series of conversations that matter. We partnered with faculty from Harvard Business School and Harvard Law School to deliver 15 conversations that matter in this moment - a series titled, Crisis Management for African Business Leaders." - Teresa Clarke, CEO,

Key Figures
25 000

Online conference registrants


Countries in Africa 


Countries in rest of world


Decision makers

Food security

As Covid-19 affects global supply chains, there is a greater need for collaboration in order to remove bottlenecks in the food supply chain. Investments in logistics, renewable energy, storage facilities, agro-processing plants and irrigation technologies will be crucial, as will public investments in transport infrastructure.

Digital opportunities

Covid-19 lockdowns have presented an opportunity to experiment with emerging technologies and new ways of working. Connectivity and intelligent networks will become critical in ensuring that organisations can deliver to clients throughout lockdowns. Innovation is driven by the need to ensure that organisations deliver to clients seamlessly whilst growing the economy.

The impact of Covid-19 on women

All responses to Covid-19 should take into account the gendered impacts of the pandemic. A focus on the futures of women and girls is an essential part of breaking structural practices that have been marginalising women. Data needs to be collected to ensure that the impact of the crisis on women is informing the redesign of fully inclusive socio-economic and health systems.

The need for leadership

The pandemic has made clear the need for strong leadership, both from government and corporations. Many business leaders have spoken out during the pandemic, and government leaders were praised for their early approach to tackling the virus. Collaboration between the private and public sector has been encouraging and is critical to overcoming the crisis.