It has been popularly believed that the world of business is a world of men. In the past women played a supportive role in business affairs, while young people and women taking meaningful business strides were almost non-existent. In a way, it was considered inappropriate for women, married or otherwise, to engage in business activities. Young people in business were similarly dismissed, considered not mature and experienced enough to have credible business acumen.
Today’s worldview however, has shifted to placing women and youth at the forefront of business activities rather than having them operate from the side-lines.
Although the African Business Roundtable has never been one to shun capable women, the group cannot boast the full inclusion of women and youth in its early activities. The role of the youth is central in the new strategies put in place by the ABR to leverage the private sector as 60% of the African population is under the age of twenty-ﬁve. Also a good percentage of small scale enterprises are owned and managed by the youth and women.
ABR 30th Anniversary Commemorative Book:“In a bid to restructure and refocus the organization’s activities for future visibility, full inclusion of women and youth is on the agenda. For the youth, we intend to organise and incorporate activities that will encompass their full involvement. This, we hope, will be a symbiotic relationship, where having the youth as members of the ABR will be of immense benefit for both parties”
Some of the programmes put in place to ensure that young members operating large and small scale businesses experience optimum advantages as Roundtable members include to
• Develop programmes to harness the energies, skills and innovations of young people in the ICT sectors, creative industry and technology sectors.
• Promote the establishment of business incubation centres, parks and clusters in sectors that appeal to the youth.
• Provide platforms for mentoring youth entrepreneurs through linkages with established ﬁrms/entrepreneurs.
• Advocate for educational curricular that are business relevant and link research to business development/entrepreneurship.
• Establish platforms that will drive youth personal development and networking that provide them with an opportunity to establish possible national and international partnerships.
Understanding that today’s economy is largely driven by advancing technology, active social media involvement and personal and corporate online branding, the ABR fully intends to factor in these dynamics into future activities, with the hope that the presence of vibrant and technology savvy members can its projections.
ABR 30th Anniversary Commemorative Book:“Through this synergy, we believe that we can build a Roundtable that better advocates for the cause of the private sector as we keep abreast of the dynamics of a rapidly advancing world.”