Oxford Africa Business Forum 2024

About the event

By creating jobs, driving innovation, and fostering economic growth, businesses of all types are pivotal to the growth of states.

Compelling storytellers with a sense of their own value, the speakers and businesses represented at the Oxford Africa Business Forum 2024 contributed another confident chapter to this developing narrative of the continent.

Politicians, entrepreneurs, investors and experienced corporate leaders joined creatives in architecture, filmmaking and music over two days of interviews, panel discussions and speeches.

While the sessions on 8 March had a particular focus on women, the second day further amplified the overall theme of the Forum – business as a force for nation-building. Panels discussed topics as different as the role of governments in shaping the future and architects as social engineers. During these diverse conversations, a number of themes emerged.


Speakers throughout the Forum emphasised the importance of empathy: you have to connect with people before you can lead them, and you have to be able to see beneath the surface of formal communication.

For example, in cultures where non-confrontation is the norm, people will not openly disagree with a decision. Political and corporate leaders should spend time ‘on the ground’ to be able to hear what’s not being said and to understand ‘how things really work’.


Every challenge or problem can be reframed as an opportunity. Africa’s young population is bursting with potential – hard work and innovation revealing themselves in sectors from tech to climate, beauty and the creative arts. While speakers stressed the need for realism, they were also positive about the capacity for growth through building irresistible businesses.


‘African businesses should hold hands with governments.’ ‘Engaging with regulators is vital.’ ‘Western leaders are always in the media, telling people what they’re doing and why.’ The importance of engagement with all stakeholders in the ecosystems was stressed again and again, in order to attract capital, communicate sound and consistent decision-making, and express a vision for the continent and a just transition to a sustainable future.

Watch videos of the Forum