Empowerment Must Never Waver – Reflecting on the 2021 Top Empowerment Conference Day 2
In the name of collaboration and uplifting South Africa, Topco Media hosted the Top Empowerment Conference centered around deep-diving into recovery strategies, maintaining an effective response, and rebuilding for 2021 and beyond.
Echoing day 1 of the conference, Mothunye Mothiba, CEO of Productivity SA was quoted saying, “small enterprises are a backbone of innovation and inclusive growth.” Alongside Mothiba on the panel, Dawie Roodt, Chief Economist at the Efficient Group SA, highlighted that we have to create opportunities for small businesses to grow bigger.
Quality Education is Power
Dr. Judy Dlamini, Founder & Executive Chairman of the Mbekani Group emphasized that the quality and type of education in South Africa needs to undergo a series of pivotal changes. Dr. Dlamini called for a more passionate approach to problem-solving and critical thinking skills through problem-based learning, “we need to produce young minds who believe in starting their own initiatives and creating jobs – not merely studying to obtain a qualification, but to make a positive impact on society.”
Another important message from Dr. Dlamini was that innovation is key to building innovators and entrepreneurs who are tech-savvy, “technology should be the way of life rather than an add-on.”
Dr. Charles Nwaila, Chairperson for the National Skills Authority, reminded us that 61.9% of students from under-resourced colleges in poor communities could not access virtual learning in lockdown. Seliki Abram Tihabane, Chief Director of Mst and Curriculum Enhancement Programmes for the Department of Basic Education, therefore, called for corporates to come in and invest in equipping students and teachers with 21st-century skills that will enable them to fully operate in a digital world.
Bridging the Digital Divide
Alistair Mokoena, the Country Director for Google has said that there are 1.2 billion African people on the continent and only 300 million have internet access. Mokoena wants to see people gain access to the internet as he believes digital technology is a real equalizer. Suzanne Morel, country manager for Mastercard, South Africa, had a similar message, saying that, “we want to try to equalize the playing field.”
Technology gives People a Voice and an Opinion
On a panel hosted by gold sponsor Nedbank, Farai Mubaiwa, Implementation Management Lead at Yes4Youth, was quoted as saying, “only 8% of South Africans have a desktop at home.” As Alistair Mokoena has reiterated, technology can be the tide that lifts all boats, a reality worth creating!
It needs to be a case of doing what you can, with what you have, wherever you are, as Judy Dlamini espoused. Perhaps that sort of thinking explains why according to Tim Parle, “60% of people in the world are participating in an informal economy.”
Meaningful Economic Inclusion
Allon Raiz, Founder & CEO of Raizcorp, posed a question that senior management should be asking themselves, “what can I do to cut down obstacles in the way of legitimate scale black-owned businesses getting into our supply chain?” Murray Chabant, Managing Director and Chairman of the Board for the Signa Group believes that we can learn from other countries and implement best practices that support meaningful economic inclusion.
Nyiko Shiburi, CEO of MultiChoice, also highlighted that the education of young people should be of great importance, especially at this time. Significantly, Shiburi said that “equality is the catalyst for economic independence.”
The Top Empowerment Conference was a great success and showed us all that there is cause for celebration as there are already a significant number of entities working to do the ‘right thing.’
We need to stop talking about Africa’s potential and talk about Africa’s greatness. Africa is great – Alistair Mokoena
Click here for the day 1 highlights video.
Click here for the day 2 highlights video.
*To read more about Theo’s incredible journey, check out the Impumelelo Top Empowerment 20th Edition publication here