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African insights 17 June 2022

WEF Davos 2022 Key Takeaways for Africa

The World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, took place from 22 to 26 May where world leaders convened to address critical challenges facing society. We’ve partnered with Africa.com to share key takeaways from the event

  • WEF President and Standard Bank CEO talk climate change and ESG

Live from Davos, Africa.com’s Teresa Clarke had the opportunity to speak with Borge Brende, president of the World Economic Forum and Sim Tshabalala CEO of Standard Bank on how Africa’s governments and largest companies can create resilient economies that can withstand the effects of climate change and drive the environmental, society and governance agenda on the continent.

Watch the discussion 

  • Experts from Standard Bank weigh in on sessions about climate change

The burning topics around climate and nature discussed at the forum have endorsed the Standard Bank group’s firm direction as a key private sector player in supporting climate transitions and the national climate commitments of the countries where they conduct business. Its Climate Policy provides a map of how it aims to use innovation to reach net zero across its group operations for newly built facilities in time for the global deadline of 2030.The group has also made sustainable finance commitments with a focus on renewable energy projects across Africa.

Programmes that may have been an afterthought in the past: such as the role of digitization in various sectors of government and business were brought to the fore this time round. The World Economic Forum convened Friends of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area, a group of heads of state and business leaders, which advanced a framework on how public-private partnerships can support the implementation of the AfCFTA and some of the key takeaways include:

  • Inefficient border and customs processes in Africa remain a significant concern and may result in some countries being unable to realize the full benefits of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area
  • Reduction of non-tariff barriers (including border and customs administration) could lead to trade gains in Africa of $20 billion a year, compared to the $3.6 billion that could be achieved by the elimination of tariffs alone
  • The new report calls for public-private partnerships to drive more integrated digital reforms
  • Africa’s leading role in the conversation

Unlike forums of the past, Africa came in confident about solutions that it needs. The forum took place at the same time as Africa Day on 25 May under the theme on the importance of addressing malnutrition and food insecurity. Rwanda joined the Food Action Alliance for driving food systems transformation. The country is now part of a growing group of first-mover countries. The new partnership will harness innovation to accelerate country goals on food security and nutrition, inclusive growth, sustainability and climate resilience, in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

  • Africa and the future of work

The Reskilling Revolution initiative, launched at the Annual Meeting in 2020, has now mobilized a community of over 50 CEOs, 350 organizations and 15 countries all working towards a vision of giving 1 billion people better education, reskilling and upskilling. With the youngest population in the world, Africa is also at a turning point and is poised to take advantage of recommendations from the forum. A network of country accelerators in Bahrain, Bangladesh, Brazil, Cambodia, Georgia, Greece, India, Oman, Pakistan, South Africa, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates, with support from Denmark, Finland, Singapore and Switzerland, and a consortium of the largest online learning platforms are working together. A new report from the project,Catalysing Education 4.0 Investing in the Future of Learning for a Human-Centric Recovery,finds that investment in the skills of the future for primary and secondary school learners would create an additional $179 billion in sub-Saharan Africa. The report, developed with support from the LEGO Foundation and in consultation with leading education experts from the public, private and educational sectors.

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  • Addressing vaccine equity for Africa

And finally, an Accord for a Healthier World was launched at Davos by Pfizer, providing all its current and future patent-protected medicines and vaccines available in the US or EU on a not-for-profit basis to 45 lower-income countries. Pfizer called on global health leaders and organizations to join the accord, bringing their expertise and resources to close the health equity gap and help create a healthier world for 1.2 billion people. Rwanda, Ghana, Malawi, Senegal and Uganda are the first five countries to commit to join the accord. Health officials in these countries will help identify and resolve hurdles beyond supply to inform the roll-out in all 45 lower-income countries.

Watch the session

Read more insights on climate change and other topics discussed at the WEF meeting.