USIU-Africa and Academy of International Business Africa hold conference on disruption in global business


USIU-Africa and Academy of International Business Africa hold conference on disruption in global business

USIU-Africa and the Academy of International Business-Africa hosted a joint conference from January 7 –9, 2019.

The conference themed ‘Facing the Disruptive forces in Global Business: The way forward’ presented an opportunity to discuss the latest research on the prospects and perils of doing business in Africa specifically focusing on how the business world is coping with the disruptions unleashed by forces beyond the control of individual organizations and governments.

The business world globally is facing unprecedented disruptions due to a combination of factors such as climate change, growing protectionism across the world, gradual erosion in the authority of international trade bodies, and the rise of technologies that threaten millions of jobs.

In her keynote address, the Chief Executive Officer of the Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA) Ms. Carole Kariuki mentioned that the global, regional and local business space is more dynamic and competitive today than ever owing to globalization and fast technological advancements which cannot be ignored for any business to remain relevant today.

“The uncertainties occasioned by rising protectionism, geo-political realignments, and climate change, among other factors will greatly influence the future social and economic landscape in Africa,” said Ms. Kariuki.

According to the 2019 Global CEO outlook by KPMG, the most common disruptions include climate change at 21 percent, emerging or disruptive technologies at 19 percent and return of territorialism at 16 percent.

The top risks in the East Africa region include operational risks at 26 percent, cyber security risk at 20 percent and regulatory risk at 16 percent. The report further indicates that 67 percent of CEOs surveyed globally acknowledge that agility is the new currency of business, and that failure to adapt to the constantly changing world, risks bankruptcy.

It also shows that 63 percent of organizations represented are intentionally disrupting their businesses as opposed to waiting to be disrupted. These organizations are intentionally put measures in place to ensure that they can survive a major global shift in the business environment.

However, in East Africa, only 48 percent of CEOs are intentionally putting structures in place to allow for disruption. This means that the region is grossly unprepared for disruption.

The Vice Chancellor Prof. Paul Tiyambe Zeleza added that global challenges such as socio-economic challenges, climate change and the fourth industrial revolution are changing the way business is done across the globe. In addition, Africa’s burgeoning population will most likely tilt the scales and shift a lot of business to the continent.

The United Nations estimates that Africa’s population will be at 1.7 billion by 2030 and 2.3 billion by 2050 and the continent will account for the largest workforce in the world. He said in order to resolve and address these challenges, universities had a big role to play by developing and preparing the next human capital fit for the 21st century and beyond.

He said “teaching will shift from the classroom and will incorporate practical skills and involvement in the community as opposed to the traditional teaching methods that focus on reproducing content learned.”

He further emphasized on the need to continually upskill and re-train faculty in order to deliver graduates fit for the job market; increase research output in African universities so that it reflects the pressing needs of the world; shift the models of partnerships among universities by leveraging on technology.

The Academy of International Business is the leading association of scholars and specialists in the field of international business. Established in 1959, AIB today has over 3007 members in 95 different countries around the world. Members include scholars from the leading academic institutions, as well as, consultants and researchers with an interest in international business.

As the leading global community of scholars for the creation and dissemination of knowledge about international business and policy issues, AIB transcends the boundaries of single academic disciplines and managerial functions to enhance business education and practice.

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