Meet the Co-Chairs of the World Economic Forum on Africa 2019

A woman on a mission to end neglected tropical diseases, a medical expert recently knighted for services to global health, business leaders and philanthropists will together lead discussions at the 28th World Economic Forum on Africa.

The theme of this year’s meeting, taking place in Cape Town, South Africa from 4-6 September, is Shaping Inclusive Growth and Shared Futures in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Expect lively discussion as participants exchange ideas on how Africa can overcome significant obstacles to thrive at a time when emerging technologies are transforming how the world lives and works.

The Co-Chairs: Top row: Sipho Pityana, Jeremy Farrar, Ellen Agler, Jim Ovia; Bottom row: Alex Liu, Arancha González, André Hoffmann

Image: World Economic Forum

Ellen Agler is the CEO of the END Fund, a private philanthropic initiative that works to end five neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) that affect 1.5 billion of the world’s most impoverished people. Since it was founded in 2012, the END Fund has supported NTD prevention and treatment programmes in more than 25 countries, with a special focus on sub-Saharan Africa. Agler, an expert in global health and humanitarian response, serves on the World Economic Forum’s Global Health Security Advisory Board and will be discussing the role of philanthropy and civil society in helping build an inclusive future for Africa.

With elections taking place in more than 20 African countries in 2019, the world’s youngest continent is facing a new era.

Held under the theme ‘Shaping Inclusive Growth and Shared Futures in the Fourth Industrial Revolution’ the 28th World Economic Forum on Africa will convene more than 1,000 regional and global leaders from government, business, civil society and academia.

The event (held 4-6 September 2019) will explore new regional partnerships and entrepreneurial and agile leadership to create pathways for shared prosperity and drive a sustainable future.

Participants will discuss ways to accelerate progress on five transformative pan-African agendas in the context of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, addressing the African Union’s Agenda 2063 priorities.

Read more about the Forum’s Impact in Africa and our launch of a new Africa Growth Platform to scale the region’s start-ups for success.

Read our guide to how to follow #af19 across our digital channels. We encourage followers to post, share, and retweet by tagging our accounts and by using our official hashtag.

Become a Member or Partner to participate in the Forum’s year-round annual and regional events. Contact us now.

A leading figure in the field of infectious diseases, Jeremy Farrar has published almost 600 peer-reviewed scientific papers and mentored dozens of students and fellows. This year Dr Farrar, who is the Director of medical research charity The Wellcome Trust, was awarded a knighthood for services to global health. He led Oxford University’s Clinical Research Unit in Viet Nam for 18 years and has served as chair on advisory boards for governments and global bodies including the World Health Organization. He is a fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine and the Royal Society.

Economist and expert on international trade issues Arancha González will be leading discussions about supporting trade and Africa’s integration with regional and global economies. She is the Executive Director of the International Trade Centre (ITC), the joint development agency of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the World Trade Organization (WTO). Before joining the ITC, González was Chief of Staff at the WTO, where she helped set up the Aid for Trade initiative, and held several positions at the European Commission, negotiating trade agreements and working on development initiatives.

André Hoffmann is Vice-Chairman of the global pharmaceutical company Roche. The entrepreneur and philanthropist is passionate about tackling major environmental and health challenges. Roche’s Global Access Program, which brings HIV testing to people living in isolated areas, is part of the broader global effort to end the HIV-AIDS pandemic in sub-Saharan Africa. Hoffmann is a member of the Board of Trustees of the World Economic Forum and his fellowships enable postdoctoral researchers interested in the intersection of technology, science, society and policy to take part in projects run by the Forum’s Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution in San Francisco, California.

Alex Liu is the Managing Partner and Chairman of consulting firm AT Kearney. A trusted advisor to CEOs and boards, Liu joined AT Kearney as a partner in 1996 and later served as head of the firm’s global communications, media and technology practice and as a member of the board of directors. He was elected as the firm’s ninth managing partner in 2018. In an article for the World Economic Forum on Africa, he writes that the continent can look forward to a future of innovation rather than industrialization if it continues to grasp the opportunities of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Jim Ovia is Chairman of Nigeria’s Zenith Bank, one of the largest commercial banks in Africa. A philanthropist, motivational speaker and writer, Ovia founded James Hope College, Nigeria, where 50% of the students benefit from his scholarship scheme. He also set up the Youth Empowerment & ICT Foundation, which empowers young people through education. He is an alumnus of Southern University, Louisiana, the University of Louisiana and Harvard Business School.

Sipho M Pityana is the Chairman of AngloGold Ashanti, South Africa, the world’s largest emerging market gold producer with 19 operations in nine countries in Africa, Australasia and South America. Pityana has extensive business experience, having held a variety of executive and non-executive roles and was formerly the Executive Director of Nedcor Investment Bank and Managing Director of Nedbank. He has also served in senior positions on government boards, organizations and committees.

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