Johannesburg, Monday 16 July 2018 – Brand South Africa collaborated with Business Engage, and other business stakeholders to host an interactive dialogue in commemoration of Nelson Mandela’s 100th birthday, under the theme ‘The Centenary Business Summit – South Africa Open for Business.’
The business summit saw a delegation of U.S business leaders, and some of South Africa’s prominent leaders in the business community share thought leadership around globalisation,
corporate social responsibility, diversity, technology, doing business in Southern Africa and much more.
The Centenary Business Summit “South Africa Open For Business”, was developed jointly by India Gary-Martin and Colleen Larsen, CEO of Business Engage and President of the 30% club in
conjunction with Sneha Shah, Managing Director for Africa at Thomson Reuters, the summit’s anchor sponsor.
Colleen Larsen, CEO of Business Engage, President of the 30% Club said: “The purpose of the delegation was to engage in thoughtful conversation with business leaders about the vision,
business operating environment and challenges in attracting direct foreign investment to Southern Africa. The cohort constituted of senior executives with global responsibilities at
some of the world’s largest and most well respected firms. They are widely recognised as business leaders, subject matter experts and trailblazers across their respective sectors.”
Co-organiser of the Centenary Business Summit, and Founder of Leadership For Life (LFL), India Gary-Martin, who is a 25 year veteran of financial services and a proponent of the globalisation of
African brands, explained that the platform has provided an opportunity for U.S based C-Suite executives to unpack the opportunities presented by South Africa.
Gary-Martin said: “Our influence as business leaders is extremely important. We want to explore the opportunities that exist within purpose driven leadership.
This is about leader to leader exchange, and interrogating best practice.”
Key note speaker, Colin Coleman, who is the Managing Director and Head of Africa at Goldman Sachs shared insights on how South Africa and the world can live up to the values and principles
of the late statesman Nelson Mandela – through concerted efforts that aim to positively impact society.
“Let us not forget where we come from as a nation. In the 25 years since 1994, significant developments have been made for our society which have been enabled by our Constitution
and democratic society. We see an increase in the creation of the black middle class, the country’s social welfare system provides support in the form of an to over 17 million South Africans
– a system which also benefits corporates.
“We aren’t without our challenges as a society. We have high levels of unemployment with the vast majority of those impacted being the youth. The structural design of the apartheid system
still persists to this day which sees the mass of rural and peri-urban citizens being marginalized.
“However, we are in a ‘new dawn’ – guided by the Ramaphosa administration and it is our responsibility collectively with government, business and civil society to unwind the racial divides in
the economy and to maintain and further strengthen social cohesion in South Africa and in the rest of the continent,” said Coleman.