By Evelyn Kpadeh Seagbeh
The start of Thursday’s Conference brought together about 209 people from 10 Countries, across Africa and the United States.
Since the Conference was launched in 2017, each year, it gathers Business Leaders, NGO Leaders, Researchers, Students, Educators from African Countries, Wagner College, and the local New York City Community to discuss the most pressing issues impacting businesses in African Countries.
The Theme for the 2023’s CBIAC is Management and Resilience of African Organizations in Times of Crisis.” And the Topics under discussion for the two-day Conference revolved around the reciprocal impact of businesses, government, and society.
The Conference’s impetus is the discussions derived from the UNCTAD 14 and UNCTAD15 (United Nations Conference on Trade and Development) Conferences, held in Nairobi, Kenya, in July 2016 and in Barbados in October 2021.
Speaking at the Official start of the CBIAC, Wagner College’s Professor and Founder of the CBIAC, Shani Carter expressed gratitude to the faculty and Staff of Ibn Zohr University for hosting the Conference adding; this is the first time the Conference is being hosted in Africa since its formation.
“Last year, one of the presenters was Sarah Bensel, who is a Ph.D. student here and she is finishing her Ph.D. this year after the conference ended, Sara reached out to me and asked if I was interested in
having the conference on the African continent. And I said, yes, there have been many people who’ve asked me to have the conference in Africa. And so she offered the University of Ibn Zohr.”
Professor Carter Continued “And so that’s why we’re here in Morocco because they were very interested in having the conference and promoting business issues on the African continent. And they’ve been very generous with their time and talent and everything for the last year of planning the conference and this is the first time the conference is being held in Africa.”
The partnership with Ibn Zohr University Wager’s professor told FPA that the conference provides a perfect opportunity for students at Ibn and participants from other countries as well as Wagner College to increase collaboration between faculty, students, local communities, and business leaders; to explore productive ways, strengthen businesses, network, explore investment opportunities, organizational growth, and finding solutions during crisis.
The first day of the Conference saw 20 presentations which were done in person, and virtually. The President of Ibn Zohr University Mr. Abdelaziz Bendou, the dean, Mr. BOUAZIZ Simohamed, Ms. Aarti Ivanic, the Dean of Nicolais School of Business at Wagner College, and Mr. BINKKOUR Mohamed-President of the organizing committee at Ibn Zohr all expressed their warm gratitude and unflinching support to the CBIAC.
Business leaders from other African countries spoke about businesses and entrepreneurship during the pandemic and how they became flexible and resilient and on top of that, they also shared how they succeeded in reducing the risks of their businesses being hard hit during the global health crisis (Covid-19 Outbreak).
The event also had business leaders who shed light on how the government interacted with businesses in Morocco and lessons other countries can learn from their experiences.
Sara Bensel, the person behind the invitation of CBIAC to be hosted in Africa and at Ibn Zohr University, in her words described the conference as a motivation for business students at the university and help shift their mindset more positively about a lot of things and the way they see business in Africa.
”This conference is going to motivate and push students to switch from French research to English research. I mean that future researchers and Ph.D. students turn their research to English and another that would be more interesting, and to change that ancient module here in Morocco and universities.” Sara Bensel, a Ph.D. Student said.
The thematic areas of the 2023 Current Business Issues in African Countries conference are supply chain, climate change, COVID-19, sustainable development, and entrepreneurship.
Liberian Journalist, Evelyn Kpadeh Seagbeh, and Founder of Just A Girl Initiatives is also serving on the CBIAC governing board including Abou Sy Diakhate, a Community Organizer & Advocate from New York, Valerio Thompson Boco from Equatorial Guinea, Savita Gautam- Professor of International Business-New Delhi Institute of Management, Dr. Philip Munyao of Kenya, Sarah Donovan, Chief Mpaka Princewill, Chair of Princewill Properties USA among others.