Governments must create a policy and legal framework for businesses to invest to improve living standards of society and create jobs and grow economies, says Vuyani Jarana, CEO of South African Airways (SAA).
“There has to be a constant realignment between government policy, business investment drivers and society expectations such as social equity, access to affordable services and improving of better living standards. Unless we watch this constant realignment particularly, we are bound to see leakages in the system and a lack of alignment,” he says.
He was the keynote speaker at a special award ceremony hosted by the University of Stellenbosch Business School (USB) where the top performing students were awarded for their successes during their academic career. Jarana is an MBA alumnus and Alumnus of the Year 2017 of USB.
He says: “As leaders we are trustees of the future generations. We have been given stewardship of the organisations, whether it is government, business or civil society, to see the effective functioning of these institutions and systems for future generations to benefit.”
He added that with such trusteeship comes a responsibility of the highest level of accountability and ethics, “so that future generations find these institutions in a better shape than when we found it ourselves in order to build a better continent at large”.
“Africa requires significant investment in a number of areas in order to improve the human development index, infrastructure, and education if Africa is to improve itself from the current economic challenges. Business schools therefore play a crucial role in preparing leaders with insights and knowledge to navigate the complex issues and to be better trustees at the work in hand. Educational institutions need to find models that address the opportunities that are deeply embedded in a very complex structure of African economies,” he adds.
Jarana says there has been a lot of progress made by African governments to align the African continent. “However, more policy instruments such as the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM) that the Africa Union (AU) is putting together, must be driven pragmatically by businesses taking advantage of the opportunities coming out of these policy decisions.
“We expect the academic community to provide a leading role in understanding how we could move from policy to execution.”
He also says that the Fourth Industrial Revolution presents opportunities for Africa to focus on development, in terms of comparison with the path already taken by the developed world. “Key areas of opportunities lie in improving education through access to resources, bridging the gap between the rich and poor, urban and rural, and access to capital and ensuring greater financial inclusion across segments of society.”
“Unless the continent embraces the Fourth Industrial Revolution, it will be left behind. Its development will continue to lag behind the developed world and remain a spectator in global trade with a direct effect on youth employment, human development as well as overall economic activities,” he says.