It is a great pleasure for me to welcome you to our first newsletter for 2016. This year, we have hit the ground running by kick-starting new initiatives and growing existing programmes. I would like attribute our ongoing growth and success to the efforts of the NBF board of directors and to the NBF staff who have continued in their dedication to our vision and mission. Our success is also an output of our members and stakeholders’ commitment to our organisation, it is largely through their support that the NBF has thrived for so long and will continue to do so in the future.
Recapping 2015, it was an exciting and successful year at the NBF. Our major highlights included the establishment of an NBF country office in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; the launch of the Africa Investment and Integration Desk (AVID) with the support of the Export Credit Insurance Corporation of South Africa (ECIC); the launch of the Southern Africa Business Forum (SABF) on the margins of the SADC Heads of State Summit in Botswana; and our response to xenophobic violence in South Africa with the establishment of the Business Action Against Xenophobia (BAAX) forum which coordinated private sector-led working groups to kick start projects that will hopefully mitigate future incidences of xenophobic violence.
Also in 2015, our existing programmes continued to excel with the African Corporate Governance Network (ACGN) initiative securing funding to further develop and promote the programme in Africa and growing its membership to 16 countries; the Strategic Water Partners Network of South Africa (SWPN-SA) projects reporting cumulative water savings of 927 891 m³ per week with projected water savings of 48 million m³ per annum; and the African Infrastructure Desk (Afri-ID) making significant progress in the development of its five priority projects along the North South Corridor in the port and rail sectors.
We are excited by our plans for 2016 and by the opportunities our new initiatives will provide to our members. The SWPN-SA has launched three new strategic working groups - Water Stewardship (WS); Skills Development and Transformation (SDT) and Sanitation (SANI). The SWPN-SA will once again be participating at the following annual events: WEF Africa Summit; Water Institute of Southern Africa (WISA); the World Water Week; and will also be hosting a second Water Stewardship event this year will be inviting key stakeholders to participate and support the initiative.
During an African Corporate Governance workshop held in Maputo, Mozambique in February 2016, the ACGN released the first edition report on the ‘State of Corporate Governance in Africa: An Overview of 13 Countries’. The report contains a high-level overview of the current status of corporate governance frameworks and systems in 13 countries, which include Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Currently, the ACGN’s membership base consists of Institutes of Director organisations from 16 African countries with a collective representation of over 16,000 directors and senior executives across the continent. This year, the initiative will be targeting new members, which will include Senegal, Algeria, Togo, Benin and Rwanda.
The Afri-ID will be hosting its third Public-Private Dialogue on Infrastructure Project forum this year. The Afri-ID has delivered great progress with some of its infrastructure projects such as the North South Corridor (NSC) rail project, which has begun to yield early results. Through the Afri-ID’s efforts, operational efficiency on the NSC has increase significantly where transit times between DRC and Durban have been reduced from 15 days to 7.5 days on that rail line. The Afri-ID’s neutral facilitation role managed to bring together senior management of the four country’s rail operators who have been working together over the past two years to improve communication, coordination and collaboration in order to provide a seamless rail corridor.
In this newsletter, you will find the NBF 2016 events calendar and be sure to diarise the dates of key NBF activities to make sure that you are plugged into the latest developments in Africa. I would like to let our stakeholders know that this year, we will be resuming the African Leaders in Dialogue (ALD) dinner which is the NBF’s flagship event is hosted in partnership with the NEPAD Agency and supported by Barclays Africa. The ALD dinner is a platform for like-minded African leaders from both the public and private sector to deliberate on the challenges facing the continent as well as to seek solutions and design logical steps to develop the African continent.
We are excited about 2016 and we invite you to get involved in our programmes and initiatives and to become part of our success story. Our aim is to remain relevant to our members and to deliver value to all our stakeholders. Join us as we facilitate the implementation of strategic projects which are of sustainable developmental importance and deliver real impact across the African continent.
To find out more about the NBF and to become a member, please contact us and we will arrange a meeting or download our 2016 Membership Application Form from the link in this newsletter or from our website.
Thank you for taking the time to read this newsletter.