When he was Finance Minister in South Africa (1996-2009), Trevor Manuel was one of the most respected politicians in Africa and, still is. So when Hivos partnered with Zimbabwe’s Alpha Media Holdings to have him talk to business leaders in their discussion series ‘AMH Conversations’, there was a lot of interest.
Manuel,who since 2009 has had the role of Minister in the Presidency in charge of the National Planning Commission, spoke on the topic “Africa and the European Financial Crisis-Opportunities and Risks”.
Some of Zimbabwe’s top politicians and business leaders came to hear him speak. These included Finance Minister Tendai Biti, opposition party leader Simba Makoni, South African Ambassador to Zimbabwe Vusi Mavimbela and Alpha Media Holdings Chairman Trevor Ncube, who is also the chairperson for the World Economic Forum’s Global Agent Council.
The talks and ensuing discussion were aired live on the ZiFM Stereo radio station and hosted by station ownerSupa Mandiwanzira.
Just a month earlier, AMH Conversations featured one of Africa’s most well-known technology advocates, Ory Okolloh, when she gave business leaders some insight into the philosophy and innovation culture that drives technology giant Google, where she now works as Policy Manager for Africa.
In March 2013, AMH Conversations held its first talk in Zambia, supported by Hivos and given by AMH chairman Ncube. As with the Harare talks, the audience was primarily prominent business people.
Ncube related his story of journeying from a village to becoming the owner of a media empire through overwhelming odds which included Zimbabwe’s 2001-2008 economic meltdown and as, Joseph Brown states in a blog post, inspired and challenged those present.
Tambudzai Madzimure, Programme Officer for Culture, ICT and Media at the Hivos Regional Office in Southern Africa, explains why this partnership happened, “Hivos’ work with AMH is engaging with a different target group than we normally do. The AMH Conversations provide a platform and opportunity for key decision-makers to network and exchange with peers.
The speakers who we put forward to be part of the conversations are addressing issues that we hope will challenge the thinking of our captains of industry and get them to look at things beyond their immediate area of influence. The discussions also fall inside our aim of creating platforms for dialogue.”