Global law firm Hogan Lovells has launched “The A Perspective Podcast Series”, which features the Head of Hogan Lovells Africa Practice, Andrew Skipper, conducting open interviews with some of Africa’s most influential leaders, both on and off the continent. The podcast series is part of the law firm’s aim to strengthen its footprint in Africa.
In the first episode of the podcast, Andrew Skipper speaks with Emma Wade-Smith OBE, the UK Trade Commissioner for Africa, who shares her thoughts on coronavirus, the gender lens and why the UK is 100% committed to Africa. During this session, she reinforces the importance of the trade partnership between the UK and Africa and their strategy to inspire more companies to invest in Africa.
In her words, “I believe no one else in the world has the range and diversity that we have in the UK, not to mention the fabulous African diaspora community that exists across the UK. We also do good business in the right way and it’s not just about making money, which companies must do otherwise they don’t exist, but it’s all about doing good business in the right way. This involves supporting the creation, the development and the enhancement of Africa’s talented people in local workforces and helping to build local supply chains.”
However, the current COVID-19 pandemic has led to increased uncertainty regarding the future of millions of businesses, mostly SMEs, in Africa. The UK government has therefore announced efforts to help African government and African businesses to see what more can be done.
“The reality is that no one is entirely sure about how this is supposed to play out. What we are doing in the British government is that we are looking at all the different angles we have, all the levels of relationships we have and how we can make sure that every single aspect of what we do in Africa is pulling in the same direction and really helping African governments and African businesses survive, recover and strive”, Emma continues.
The UK government has recently stepped up efforts to enhance its working relationships with African nations, particularly with three of the continent’s biggest players, South Africa (the UK’s biggest African trading partner), Nigeria and Kenya. The British prime minister has reinforced the importance the United Kingdom places on Africa, their long-term partnership and their intentions to continue to grow UK-Africa trade relations.
The second episode of “The A Perspective Podcast Series” features one of Africa’s leading industrialists, Kuseni Dlamini, Chairman of Massmart and Aspen Pharmacare. In this interview with Andrew Skipper, Dlamini discusses putting employees first in a crisis, staying nimble as a business and the opportunities of The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
The podcast series continues with Director of Chatham House’s Africa Programme, Alex Vines, who shares his thoughts on Africa’s response to COVID-19, the implications of the pandemic on UK-Africa relations and the importance of amplified African voices on the international stage. The fourth episode of the podcast features Andrew speaking to Ed Marlow, Managing Director of Global Markets at Credit Suisse, who shares his insights on prospects for medium-term growth, supply chain opportunities and the role of development finance institutions (DFIs) in a post COVID-19 world.
The latest podcast features Andrew interviewing Lucy Quist, International Business Leader and Author about her new book ‘The Bold New Normal’. Hear from one of Ghana’s brightest exports as she reveals her own experience in mandatory quarantine and shares her observations on the key lessons that African governments can learn from Covid-19 and translating that into post-pandemic policies, the important role of the youth in African leadership and why we need to “rebrand Africa”.