Guest Post

My CGF Global Summit Experience

  • July 13, 2016
  • By: Tona Rowett

By Agnes Mukurumbira
Enactus Durban University of Technology. Enactus South Africa

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The students participated in many cross-cultural experiences during the week. Here, Agnes (right) appears with her roommate, Ketle Figueiredo. a student from Enactus Federal Rural University of Amazon, Enactus Brazil.

Agnes Mukurumbira is one of 12 Enactus students who were given the opportunity to represent our organization at the annual Consumer Goods Forum Global Summit, held this year in Cape Town, South Africa, 15-17 June. The students were sponsored at the event by CGF and Enactus partner company, Brambles to share their perspectives on food waste. Agnes is passionate about the issue. She believes the global food market has drastically changed and calls for a collaborative approach amongst key players within the food chain. According to Agnes, there is a need to create a value chain that actively engages manufacturers, retailers, service providers, trade associations and consumers. With the participation of all key stakeholders, the changes within the fast moving consumer goods market can be channelled into new business opportunities. Here are the insights Agnes had to share from interacting with the world’s leaders in the consumer goods industry for nearly a week.

Once in a lifetime you get to experience moments that shape the trajectory of your life, moments that make you go back to the drawing board and redefine the vision for your life. A word, a sentence, a presentation, a conversation could be all it takes to connect the dots of your life. Well, I got to live that moment at the consumer goods summit.

As much as it was historic for Enactus students to attend the summit, I also got to experience personal historic moments that will shape my future. The consumer goods summit was one of the most amazing and enlightening events I have ever attended. It was truly a week of learning, networking and great inspiration. It was a platform to interact with great men and women that I would never have access to outside this platform. As an Enactus student, the summit gave me a diversified experience.  Listening to the various presentations, I got to see the world in the eyes of some of the world’s top executives. In addition I had the opportunity to draw inspiration from fellow Enactus students from other countries. Like that was not enough, also presented to me was a platform to glean and learn from some of the Enactus Worldwide Board of Directors members and our sponsors from KPMG and Brambles.

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Agnes (far left) participated in the CGF Global Summit with 11 Enactus students from 3 other countries. She appears in this pictures with those students, her Enactus South Africa Country Leader, Letitia de Wet (4th from left), and Board Chair, Yunus Suleman (5th from left).

Being given a diversified menu of presentations at the summit, two issues stood out for my palate—those relating to Africa and food waste. As an African woman, a daughter of the soil who strongly believes in the rising of Africa, it gave me great delight to realise that a number of presentations focused on African opportunities and doing business in Africa. Most of the speakers were optimistic about Africa, but highlighted that the continent had suffered from bad publicity. On the media front, Africa has indeed offered a rich menu of poverty, corruption, abuse and crooked leaders. However the African story has not been looked at objectively and in the wider context. Africa is currently accounting for $3 trillion in GDP and it has 60% of the world’s uncultivated arable land as well as abundant natural resources. Rob Davies, the minister of trade and industry in South Africa also affirmed the African potential by stating that there was plenty of evidence that the growth frontier after Asia was Africa, and that this was driven by demographics and the growth of the middle class.

“Although it is important to make a clear distinction between Africa’s potential and the clear realities of doing business in it, the potential is indeed extraordinary,” were the words of Christo Wiese the chairman of Pepkor. His words challenged me to look at opportunities in Africa objectively, not just out of my passion or my dream for it. A deep understanding of the key drivers for doing business in Africa is requisite. Thorough research on potential investment destination in Africa as well as a deep understanding the political and cultural landscape is key. I also got to understand the opportunities that could arise if the idea of pan African (intra African) trade could be promoted.

The speakers together with fellow Enactus students that presented on food waste, cited daunting statistics of food waste. To be noted was the difference in the stages where the highest amount of food wastage happens. In developing countries post-harvest losses account for the greatest food loss whilst in the developed countries food is lost at consumer level.

“It dawned to me that food waste reduction strategies should therefore be tailor made to suit the specific demographics”

As global citizens our mandate then becomes finding innovative and sustainable ways of mitigating food waste. I was also excited by the race against waste challenge launched by Enactus to contribute towards reducing food waste. Indeed the race against waste is a cause worth spreading and engaging in. It is a challenge that I will stand for and call upon all Enactus teams to engage in.

To learn more about the 1 Race 2 End Waste announced at the CGF Global Summit Agnes references above, visit enactus.org/endwaste