The Africa Growth Platform (AGP) was born out of the realization and acknowledgement of the vulnerability of small businesses in Africa. MSMEs are the bedrock of African economies accounting for up to 80% of employment in some countries. The evolution of the COVID-19 crisis so far has demonstrated that small businesses are struggling to operate as normal and many are shutting down threatening millions of livelihoods. Thus, it is essential that the operational environment of small businesses is protected to ensure they survive, retain jobs and drive innovation.
As a multisectoral mechanism bringing together various stakeholder groups including; governments, corporations, investors, and entrepreneurs; the AGP is uniquely placed to provide a forum to coordinate and enhance collective action among various stakeholder groups in order to maximize impact. The AGP seeks to build on already existing interventions of Forum partners and governments. This new Covid19 initiative is very much aligned with the AGP’s founding mission.
Launched at the World Economic Forum on Africa in Cape Town, South Africa in September 2019, the AGP was established as a mechanism for the business community in Africa to collectively support the growth of SMEs and Startups in the region. The AGP is an initiative of the Africa Regional Business Council (2018-2019). At its inception the platform had three key objectives with the goal of creating and scaling jobs across the continent:
- Securing commitments from governments to implement policy reforms aimed at stimulating and accelerating business growth.
- Building a community of investors to enable better coordination and pooling of resources that could facilitate larger subsequent rounds of funding.
- Creating and sustaining a community of SME and Startup businesses while promoting collaboration and sharing best practices.
The COVID-19 crisis offers a new opportunity to accelerate the application of the Forum's multi-stakeholder model and and system leadership to support Africa's entrepreneurial ecosystems and build resilience as well as economic recovery through the crisis.