Africa and Europe’s top business and public sector leaders gather in Johannesburg to chart Africa’s economic rebirth



(Posted 08th November 2022)


Top African and European business leaders will be meeting in Johannesburg from 10th to 11th of November to discuss strategic economic relationships and explore joint investment opportunities in target sectors at the 9th “Southern Africa Europe CEO Dialogue”.

The event is the annual flagship forum in the African Continent of The European House – Ambrosetti (no. 1 private Think Tank in Italy, no.4 in Europe and among the top 20 globally), organized in collaboration with the Gauteng Province, GGDA and a selection of international public and private players, such as Aspen, Brand SA, CLN-MA, DBSA, DHL Express, Finstone, BBM Law, Italian Agency for Development and Cooperation, Italian Trade Agency, Italtile, Musina-Makhado Special Economic Zone, Qatar Airways, Rome Expo 2030 Nomination Committee and Sisal.

150 CEOs will be in attendance and among the confirmed speakers we are pleased to mention:

Enoch Godongwana, Minister of Finance, South Africa;

Gwede Mantashe, Minister of Energy and Minerals Resources, South Africa;

Ronald Lamola, Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, South Africa;

Panyaza Lesufi, Premier of Gauteng Province;

Trevor Manuel, Chairman, Old Mutual;

Mpho Phalatse, Executive Mayor, City of Johannesburg;

Andreas Brand, CEO and Executive Director: Manufacturing, Mercedes-Benz South Africa;

Precious Moloi-Motsepe, CEO, Africa Fashion International;

Jeffrey Sachs, Professor, Columbia University;

Nhlanhla Nene, Chairman, Thebe Investment Corporation;

Sade Gawanas, Executive Mayor, City of Windhoek;

Adrian Saville, Professor of Economics, Finance & Strategy, Gordon Institute of Business Science;

Riccardo Sciutto, CEO, Sergio Rossi, to name but a few.

Our CEO Dialogue aims to build an exclusive and influential community of leaders, for growing their enterprises, their countries and their continents. Every year, thanks to a unique multi-stakeholder approach, we gather key industrialists, governmental leaders, economists and heads of multi-lateral agencies, with the ambition to draw positive attention on strategic areas of economic cooperation and to foster international partnerships. In times of socio-economic change and unexpected challenges that follow the pandemic, such as the ongoing energy crisis, rising inflation, and the global supply chain disruption, we believe that, now more than ever, Africa is the place to be. It is the present and the future of global growth and development.” Pietro Mininni, Head of African Affairs, The European House – Ambrosetti

Luca Maestripieri, Director of the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS), underlined “The African continent – where 11 of the 20 priority countries for Italian Cooperation are located – and Southern Africa in particular, are at the center of Italy’s cooperation plans and offer great prospects also for the private entities with which AICS collaborates, thanks to the tools made available by the Agency. In this context, the next Southern Africa Europe CEO Dialogue represents an important opportunity for us to exchange views with local actors and stakeholders in order to establish future business partnerships that can respond to the sustainable development needs of partner countries”.

The past two years have shown the incredible value that logistics has in connecting people and improving lives across Sub Saharan Africa and across the globe. This is why we are excited to present the Future of African Cities report done in partnership with Ambrosetti. The study provides some striking insights on how secondary cities in Sub Saharan Africa will be key in driving inclusive and sustainable development on the continent. We are honoured to be part of the 9th Southern Africa Europe CEO Dialogue, and to be part of a global CEO Group that supports the growth of the continent through tangible commitments” added Hennie Heymans CEO, DHL Sub Saharan Africa

Giuseppe Scognamiglio, Director-General, Rome Expo 2030 Nomination Committee said: “The big project of EXPO2030Rome will be an innovative platform for all the countries of the world, with the aim of finding together strategic solutions to the major problems of the future. Development and environmental sustainability will not be opposed against each other but will instead be two sides of the same coin, as will innovation and energy transformation; climate change and urban regeneration. This journey begins in 2022 in Johannesburg and, we hope, will bring us winners in Rome in 2030”.

According to Henk van der Merwe, Regional Leader at MA Automotive Tool & Die, “Our business environment has transformed over the past 3 years in unimaginable ways. The new normal will not be normal for long, we are clearly on an unprecedented rollercoaster ride. The Ambrosetti Summit provides the perfect platform for a well needed CEO dialogue, where captains of industry can share views and ideas on ways to navigate the current turmoil. I look forward to our collaboration and interaction.

The Musina Makhado Special Economic Zone is pleased to join the global network of The European House – Ambrosetti to promote dialogue and support the long-term growth of strategic trade and economic relations between Europe and Southern Africa. The annual CEO Dialogue has proven to be a strategic platform for top-level business and institutional leaders from both continents to share ideas, build strong partnerships, and learn about the enormous opportunities that exist within the Euro-African relations. We invite both local and international corporations to come join us in “The world of game-changing opportunities”.  MMSEZ-SOC is open for business.”, declared his Chief Executive Officer, Lehlogonolo Masoga”

The COVID-19 pandemic clearly demonstrated the vast inequalities that exist in vaccines and therapeutic production and supply, unnecessarily increasing African mortality and morbidity. Local production capacities and capabilities ensure security of supply and even out vast distribution inequalities. Africa can never afford to find itself at the backend of the queue ever again and significant global focus and attention on realising appropriate and suitable vaccine and other therapeutic capabilities on the continent need to be intensified. Some of the immediate areas that require focus are the reform of global vaccine procurement mechanisms and the appropriate funding and financing of both procurement and the establishment of capacities.”, added Mr Stavros Nicolaou, Group Senior Executive: Strategic Trade Development at Aspen Pharmacare.

According to Mohan Vivekanandan, Group Executive at Development Bank of Southern Africa “The SA-EU Forum presents a substantial opportunity for the DBSA as a leading infrastructure financier in Africa to engage and strengthen relations with private companies from Europe operating across the infrastructure value chain with a shared ambition to scale infrastructure delivery across the African continent.”

Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, Mr. Akbar Al Baker, said: “Qatar Airways plays a key role in enabling international trade through serving some 150 global destinations. These include seven new routes in Africa, which we have developed after COVID travel restrictions eased, and many airports in Europe, where we have a number of market leading positions. Our aim is to facilitate long term economic impact in a sustainable manner and this week’s dialogue represents an important collaboration in addressing a number of significant challenges. Qatar is a global gateway that can deliver economic trade benefits between Europe and Southern Africa, as well as bridge cultures and political partnerships. This is being demonstrated by the FIFA World Cup in under two weeks when we are literally bringing the world together.”


The topics to be covered in the 2022 agenda are:

– The African geopolitical, business and investment outlook.

– CEO’s views on African business.

– New African cities and regions: urban regeneration, sustainability and SME development.

– Africa’s rebirth: the power of the creative economy.

– The energy outlook in Southern Africa: challenges and opportunities.

This edition of the Southern Africa Europe CEO Dialogue will be enhanced with side events on these themes:

– Towards World EXPO 2030: the candidacy of Rome to engage people and territories of Africa

– The role of health diplomacy and partnerships between Europe and Africa to ensure Health Security

– Engaging the private sector in Africa to foster economic growth

– Renewable energies: A turning point for South Africa?

– Business site visit to the OR Tambo Special Economic Zone

The Summit, by invitation only, is a key moment of the activities of the “CEO Community African Chapter”, a Club of top business leaders that integrates and enriches the outcomes of the annual conference. Heads of State, global CEOs and influential personalities regularly attend the business meetings (held under Chatham House Rule) in Johannesburg at Inanda Club and in the SADC region.