Representatives from African and American civil society, private sector, academia and government gathered at Freedom House on August 1 to participate in a panel discussion titled “Advancing Political and Economic Freedom in Africa: A Strategic Path for U.S.-Africa Relations.”
The event was opened by CIPE’s Executive Director, John D. Sullivan, who emphasized the need for discussions at the upcoming U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit to include consideration of the institutions of democratic governance required to ensure economic inclusive growth in Africa.
Speakers at the event included Managing Director and Co-Chairman of Charlesbank Kim G. Davis, Chairman of the U.S.-South Africa Business Council and former Ambassador to South Africa Hon. Donald Gips, CIPE partner and Chief Executive of the Kenya Association of Manufacturers Betty Maina, and Global Investment Strategist at Investec Aniket Shah. Former President of Malawi Joyca Banda, a former CIPE partner, also joined the discussion. Discussions were moderated by the President of Freedom House David J. Kramer.
The panel covered a range of topics including the intersection of democratic development and economic development, the importance of rule of law and freedom of the press in a market-based economy, China’s involvement in Africa and the huge potential for long-term American investment in the continent, and the role of civil society and the private sector in promoting economic reforms.
Banda shared her experiences as President of Malawi fighting corruption in that country and expressed optimism that upcoming leaders in Africa understand the need to address this fundamental challenge.
The event provided an opportunity to frame commercial goals in the context of advancing broader democratic and economic freedoms in the lead up to the many U.S.-Africa discussions that will take place throughout Washington D.C. next week.
For a complete analysis of the topics raised during the discussion read the blog about this event.
Kim G. Davis is the Managing Director and Co-Chairman of Charlesbank Capital Partners. Prior to co-founding Charlesbank in 1998, he was a managing director of Harvard Private Capital Group, the firm’s predecessor. He joined Harvard Private Capital in 1997, having worked with the principals since a joint investment in 1992. Previously, Davis was at Kohlberg & Co. as general partner and at Weiss, Peck & Greer as partner. He also held various positions at General Motors and Dyson-Kissner-Moran. He was appointed by President Clinton to the Baltic-America Enterprise Fund in 1994 and is now chair of its legacy institution, the Baltic American Freedom Foundation. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a member of the Board of Trustees of Freedom House. In addition to his investment and policy experience, Davis has also written on how the business community can be an important advocate for stronger democratic governance domestically and internationally. Davis graduated from Harvard University with a BA in history and an MBA.
Hon. Donald Gips – As chairman of the U.S.-South Africa Business Council, Donald Gips leads the council in its work to encourage trade and investment between the two countries. President Obama nominated Gips as Ambassador to South Africa in June 2009 where he served until January 2013. He was recognized for his efforts to promote improved relations with South Africa when the U.S. State Department chose him as the recipient of the 2010 Sue M. Cobb Award for Exemplary Diplomatic Service. Under President Obama, he was a leader on the Presidential Transition Team and in the White House, where he ran the office of Presidential Personnel. Gips also served in the White House during the Clinton administration, working as Chief Domestic Policy Advisor to Vice President Al Gore. Before entering government, he was head of Corporate Development at Level 3 Communications and was a management consultant to Fortune 500 companies at McKinsey & Company. He is currently a Senior Counselor at Albright Stonebridge Group, a Senior Advisor to Blackstone’s Private Equity Group and a Venture Partner at Columbia Capital. Gips received an MBA from the Yale School of Management and received his undergraduate degree from Harvard University.
Betty Maina – Prior to joining the Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) in 2004, Betty Maina served in a similar position at the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) in Nairobi. She has played a major role in transforming KAM into a leading business organization in Kenya with nearly 700 members. At IEA, her leadership contributed to opening up space for public debate on government policies and legislative proposals, notably in the area of budget transparency. Maina’s career spans nearly 20 years in public policy research and advocacy and has included engagements with organizations such as the Center for International Private Enterprise, the Swedish International Development Agency, the Netherlands Development Organisation, and the World Bank. She was also chosen as a member of the United Nations High-level Panel to advise on the global development agenda beyond 2015, the target date for the Millennium Development Goals. Maina has received several commendations from H.E. the President of the Republic of Kenya for her work and serves on various boards in the public sector and civil initiatives. She holds a BA in Land Economics from the University of Nairobi and a Master of Science degree in Development Administration from the University College London.
Aniket Shah currently serves as a global investment strategist for Investec Asset Management, an international investment management firm based in South Africa, with over $118 billion in assets under management. In this role, Aniket works with the world’s largest institutional investors, from both the public and private sectors, to develop long-term portfolio investment strategies with a focus on emerging markets and Africa. He is a leading member of the firm’s Investment Institute, in which he directs research initiative dealing with macroeconomic developments in both developed and developing markets. He has written various white-papers on global economic trends, including specifically the role of trade and investment flows on African growth and development. In late 2013, he released his newest book, Learning from the World: New Ideas to Redevelop America, published by Palgrave Macmillan. Aniket has written for various publication and is often quoted in financial press including Institutional Investor around the world.
Strive Masiyiwa is the founder and Executive Chairman of the South African-based, telecommunications group Econet Wireless. Under his leadership and guidance, Econet Wireless has developed into a global telecommunications enterprise with operations and investments in more than 14 countries in Africa, Europe and the East Asia Pacific Region. Over the years, he has served on many international boards and foundations, including the advisory board for UN-launched Sustainable Energy for All initiative and the Rockefeller Foundation board of trustees. In addition to this work, Masiyiwa has developed a diversified pan-African portfolio of investments and been involved in numerous initiatives to promote entrepreneurship and social development in Africa. As one of the most respected African business leaders today, Masiyiwa speaks regularly on African business at major international business gatherings, and has been regularly featured in leading international publications and television programs, among them the Economist, Newsweek, CNN, Barron’s of New York, Forbes, Guardian and The Financial Times.