The Stanford
Africa Business Forum

Establishing Africa's Place in the Future: New Approaches to Driving Growth


This year's theme

The Africa Business Club is excited to present the 12th Annual Stanford Africa Business Forum, Establishing Africa's Place in the Future: New Approaches to Driving Growth. This year’s forum will invite all of us to think beyond the challenges that are affecting people living on the African continent. For so long we have been fully engrossed, and rightly so, in trying to solve localized challenges. While we must continue doing this, for us to truly reach our potential, we must think global. How can Africans contribute to solving the world’s toughest challenges? For example, what do we need to do in order to be at the center of the fourth industrial revolution? What must we do to help prevent a food shortage crisis as the world’s population continues to grow? What opportunities exist over the next decade for the continent to drive global growth? These pertinent questions will be addressed at the 2019 Stanford Africa Business Forum.

The Stanford Africa Business Forum: Inspiring relevant ideas for business in Africa

The SABF is the premier opportunity to inspire relevant ideas for business in Africa. The one-day conference has consistently attracted over 300 attendees in past years to the Stanford Graduate School of Business for dialogue and networking. Throughout its 12 years in session, the Forum has brought exceptional speakers and panelists to the Stanford campus, providing thought-leadership on transformative and disruptive ideas on the continent. These guests from all corners of the continent span diverse industries and sectors within business, government and nonprofit organizations.

The Forum creates a platform for exceptional business leaders, insightful policy makers, pioneering faculty, and motivated students with a shared interest in shaping the future of business in Africa to exchange powerful ideas and build long-lasting relationships. It is a collaborative effort between the Stanford Institute for Innovation in Developing Economies (Stanford Seed), the Africa Business Club, Stanford African Students’ Association and Center for African Studies.


The Stanford Africa Business Forum was founded in 2007 by Stanford undergraduate students, Irungu Nyakera and Kwame Ansong-Dwamena based on the following premise: “For many years, the economic potential of African nations has been overshadowed by issues of poverty, underdevelopment, corruption, conflict and meager progress. African economies have been known to depend immensely on the social benevolence of foreign nations and institutions. As such, economic relations in Africa have become characterized with all forms of social investment such as aid, grants, charity and debt relief. Interestingly, however, the concept of business and actual investment in Africa, which is often overlooked, may serve as the key to unlocking true solutions to rectify these problems.”

The 2007 forum was based on the theme: Fostering Entrepreneurial Activities in Africa. Its main objective was to portray Africa in a more positive light than that more commonly seen in the media and create awareness of the diverse and burgeoning opportunities, as well as the extraordinary growth that characterized African countries as they capitalized on years of continued stability.

Today Irungu serves as the Principal Secretary for Planning and Statistics under the Ministry of Devolution and Planning in the Kenyan government. He is the youngest appointee ever for such a top government position. Kwame is a Software Development Engineer in Test at Microsoft Corporation.


The Stanford Africa Business Forum aims to be the leading networking platform for professionals, students, and academics from the U.S. West Coast interested in business and innovation in Africa. By inviting thought leaders and industry professionals from the continent, our goal is to stimulate thought and discussions through engaging keynotes, interactive panels and workshops.


Keynote Speakers

John Doe

Acha Leke

Senior Partner, McKinsey & Company

Dr. Acha Leke is the chairman of McKinsey’s Africa region. Read more... He serves governments, multinational organizations, and private-sector institutions across Africa on issues of economic development, tax administration, growth strategies, holistic transformations, and investment decisions. Prior to joining McKinsey, Acha studied electrical engineering at Georgia Institute of Technology and Stanford University. He is a cofounder and member of the Gobal Advisory Council of the African Leadership Academy, a coeducational boarding school that aims to develop the next generation of African leaders. He is also a cofounder of the African Leadership Network, an invitation-only network of young African leaders who aspire to bring prosperity to the continent.

John Doe

Amy Jadesimi

Managing Director, LADOL

Dr Amy Jadesimi is the Managing Director of LADOL, an oil and gas fabrication and multi-logistics service based in Nigeria. Read more... She was on the 2015 advisory board for the UN Development Programme’s Africa Human Development Report and joined LADOL after working at Goldman Sachs and Brait Private Equity in London. In 2013, she was named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum, and in 2014 Forbes included her in the 20 Youngest Power Women in Africa. Amy is a founding member of the Global Commission on Business and Sustainable Development announced in January 2016 at the WEF in Davos.

John Doe

Claude Grunitzky

Chairman, TRUE Africa
President, Byrd Hoffman Water Mill Foundation

Claude Grunitzky is the founder of TRACE and TRUE Africa, a media tech platform championing young African voices all over the world. Read more... After getting funding from Google's Digital News Initiative and a multimillion-dollar financing deal led by Goldman Sachs Group, TRACE brand is now being leveraged globally across various television, event, and interactive platforms. A graduate of London University and MIT, Grunitzky is also the President and a board member at the Watermill Center, a laboratory of inspiration and performance, which provides a unique environment for a global community of emerging and established artists and thinkers to gather and explore new ideas together.

Past SABF Conferences

2018 2017 2016 2015


Learn More!

Pitch Showcase

Application Deadline: Feb 22, 2019

Learn More & Apply!



On Campus
Knight Management Center
Stanford University
Stanford, CA, 94305


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View Team Members


  • Knight Management Center
  • Stanford Graduate School of Business
  • gsb_africabusinessforum-leadership@stanford.edu