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02 February 2023

Africa must go borderless to unleash the continent’s potential. The creation of a regional value chain will enable African countries to develop economies of scale using their comparative advantages to best serve African people and businesses.

This is the word from the organisers of Africa Supply Chain in Action (ASCA), Africa’s largest ever virtual event to upskill procurement and inbound supply chain professionals. They have announced that the third ASCA conference will take place on 14 and 15 March 2023 under the theme “Borderless – Unleashing Africa’s Potential”.

“It is not a suggestion nor is it a luxury. Africa has to go borderless,” stresses Debbie Tagg, co-chairperson of ASCA and chief operating officer (COO) of Smart Procurement, which co-hosts this biennial event alongside SAPICS (The Professional Body for Supply Chain Management). “ASCA’s primary objective continues to be the creation of a platform for all supply chain and procurement bodies, practitioners and the industry’s thought leaders to come together, to ensure that we bring the best skills, strategies and our own world class solutions to drive Africa into the new world.

“Because it is hosted online, ASCA enables all African procurement and supply chain practitioners to join from across the continent, no matter where they are or what their level of expertise is. ASCA is committed to looking for ways to reduce learning barriers for Africa’s supply chain professionals.” Tagg expands.

Pearl Marsh, ASCA and Made in Africa conference director.

The conference director, Pearl Marsh, reveals that some of the compelling topics on the programme for ASCA 2023 include the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) advocacy, blockchain, public procurement, supply chain technology and sustainable supply chains. “The past two years – since the last ASCA gathering in 2021 – have been marked by unprecedented challenges for the profession. There have been so many fires to put out, and lessons to learn on resilience, and how to swiftly adapt to numerous black swan events. Two years down the line, ASCA and the Made in Africa event continue to support, connect and upskill inbound supply chain and procurement professionals from across Africa.”

The powerful presentations that ASCA delegates can look forward to this year include two not to be missed keynotes. “The opening keynote focuses on borderless development in Africa and outlines how the profession should be adapting to the fundamental shift in supply chain post COVID-19. The ambassador keynote examines the USD2.5 trillion African economy and shows how a borderless Africa will unleash the continent’s true potential,” Marsh expands. A group of experts will lead a panel discussion on “Making the Most of the AfCTA”, while this year’s ASCA case studies include an insightful and inspiring presentation outlining how a direct connection was successfully established between Africa’s female smallholder farmers and the international market.

Michael Sudarkasa, chief executive officer (CEO) of Africa Business Group, South Africa, is one of the outstanding speakers on this year’s ASCA line-up. He is one of the expert panellists who will discuss how the AfCFTA can be utilised as a game changer for Africa’s economic development. “Covid caught the world flat footed when it comes to having local self-sufficiency in many key areas as the pandemic seriously impacted global supply chains. While the orientation toward global commerce is returning as the pandemic subsides, more countries have determined to build greater domestic capacity. Africa needs to follow suit and assess which products currently imported really need to be produced at home,” he states. Sudarkasa contends that AfCFTA, which offers the incentive of a $3 trillion, 1.5 billion potential market, should be promoted and leveraged to encourage investment in made in Africa goods that can replace imports and build local self-sufficiency and increase resilience to global shocks.

ASCA 2023 features a dedicated French track. The Made in Africa event takes place after ASCA, on 16 March 2023. It is Africa’s largest online buyers-meet-sellers showcase.

To find out more about the event or to register to attend visit www.africainaction.com or, if you interested in exhibiting at Africa Supply Chain in Action (ASCA) 2023, contact Keshni Reddy on [email protected]

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