Today, well into our second year of the COVID-19 crisis, it is evident that the world has changed. The way that we do business has changed. Communicating and collaborating with suppliers and customers, and ensuring that supply chains are efficient, resilient and flexible, is more crucial than ever for organisations’ sustainability and future growth.
This is the word from the organisers of Africa Supply Chain in Action (ASCA), Africa’s largest ever virtual event to upskill procurement and supply chain professionals. Now in its second year, this annual conference is co-hosted by SAPICS (The Professional Body for Supply Chain Management) and Smart Procurement. They have announced that ASCA 2021 will take place on 20 and 21 October 2021.
Last year, almost 1 000 procurement and supply chain professionals from 44 African countries came together for the Africa-focused online learning, knowledge sharing and networking event. This year’s theme is “Collaboration and Innovation to Drive Prosperity”.
A host of renowned experts and thought leaders from around the continent will share their insights this year, to ensure that African procurement and supply chain professionals can leverage lessons from the COVID-19 crisis and are prepared for future disruptions and disasters. They will examine what Africa has learned from the COVID-19 pandemic; how businesses and the supply chain profession can collaborate and innovate to prosper; and how supply chains can drive economic growth and success. Case studies from across Africa will be shared.
“One thing that we can thank COVID-19 for is breaking down our previous physical and mental barriers to bring such a gathering of professionals together,” comments Debbie Tagg, Co-Chair of Africa Supply Chain in Action and Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Smart Procurement. She asserts that the pandemic has also revealed the depth and breadth of talent in Africa. “We have been compelled to move away from the historic approach of looking outside our borders for expertise, guidance and support. In Africa, we have expertise. We have experience. We have inspiration.”
Tagg explains that the inaugural ASCA last year was much more than just an event. It formed the foundation of the “ASCAnation”, which provides supply chain professionals across Africa with a platform from which their voices can be heard, and ideas, experience and innovations shared. “By driving industry collaboration, ASCA has made history and will continue to strive to impact and advance Africa's procurement and supply chain profession into the future.”
SAPICS COO and Co-Chair of ASCA, Jenny Froome, echoes this. “As the proverb says: ‘If you want to travel fast, travel alone. If you want to travel far, travel together’. The team behind ASCA pulled together at a time when the supply chain community across the African continent needed support, cohesion and inspiration. We are proud to provide this unrivalled opportunity once again for supply chain professionals in Africa to share the knowledge, expertise and innovation that exists. We must remember though that there must always be action after the talking!”
The key themes that will be featured in the ASCA 2021 programme include the African continent’s digital transformation journey and the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). The professionalisation of supply chain management, diversity and inclusion in the industry are also on the agenda.
The exceptional speakers that delegates will have the opportunity to learn from at the event include H.E. Prof. Dr. Ambassador Tal Edgars, Group Executive Chairman of GBSH Consult Group Worldwide; Rose Ronoh, Director of Trade Facilitation at Kentrade, Kenya; Saed Nuh, Chairman of the Medicines Regulatory Authority for Somaliland’s Ministry of Health Development (MoHD); Azukaego Chukwuelue, Supply Chain Director at Kimberly-Clark, Nigeria; and Emmanuel Bensah, Deputy Executive Director at AfCFTA Policy Network in Ghana.