In 2022 we took a cycle around Soweto township and discussed the challenges small businesses face in the post-COVID world. This year, we sit down with influential business people to discuss how technology can drive opportunity in this vibrant sector. Join us as we engage over an interactive lunch, and hear of stories and strategies to build resilience and growth in this unique sector from business leaders on the ground.
Please note that this event is limited to senior-level executives and per invitation only. If you are not an existing member of The Economist Intelligence Corporate Network, but would like to learn how you can attend our events, please contact us.
Director, Sub-Saharan Africa of The Economist Intelligence Corporate Network
Sam is a trained economist specialising in understanding the complexities of the South African economy. Prior to joining the EICN, Sam spent time in both the public and private sector, first as an economist within the Economic Policy division of the National Treasury, and then as a consulting economist at Econometrix, and Deloitte. During his time in private sector, Sam specialised in analysing events and government policies to dilute these into constructing business strategies. Sam also spent time in Switzerland as an economist for airline industry body IATA. Sam holds a masters degree in economics from Stellenbosch University, and has studied further at the Insitute for Social Studies in The Hague, the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and the Levy Economics Insitute of Bard College in New York State.
Chief Executive Officer at Ilitha Telecommunications
Vuyani Jarana is a seasoned professional with a wealth of experience in the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) field. He has a strong background in executive positions, having served at the Vodacom Group Chief Operating Officer, the Chief Executive Officer Vodacom Business and as the CEO of South African Airways. This experience has honed his skills in leading complex organizations and driving business transformation. His passion for development has seen him take up a role of Chairperson for the Eastern Cape Development Corporation a lead agency for Eastern Capes economic development a role he accepted with a great sense of humility, deep appreciation of the challenge of transforming the corporation and a positive view of the opportunity such a corporation has to make a difference in society. Vuyani's focus on using digital technologies to solve social issues in Africa highlights his dedication to using his expertise for the greater good. With his extensive background and proven track record, Vuyani Jarana is well-equipped to make a significant impact in the ICT industry and beyond. As the founder of Ilitha Telecommunications, a business focused on bringing affordable quality broadband the township and to rural communities, he is dedicated to closing the digital divide between rich and poor , urban and rural. Vuyani is a mentor to many young professionals and startup businesses.
Ndumi is experienced in alcoholic beverages start-ups and is the founder Brewer of Soweto Gold, a township beer brand bought by Heineken South Africa in 2017. He has held senior positions at South African Breweries (SAB), Heineken South Africa, and SABMiller Africa. He was Executive Director responsible for Production at MadMead Brewing Company in Soweto, and was recognised as 2016 Township Entrepreneur of the Year. He is co-founder of Eyethu Beverages (Pty) Ltd, and currently holds the position of Chief Operations Officer.
Entrepreneur, Owner and Founder of Sakhumzi’s Restaurant
Sakhumzi Maqubela is the owner and founder of Sakhumzi’s restaurant in the famous Vilakazi street, Soweto. Started in 2001, Sakhumzi’s has become a landmark in the Soweto township, and supports around 300 people directly and 20 jobs directly through local procurement. Further, Sakhumzi’s is the recipient of many achievements, including being exhibited at global travel expos in Italy, the UK, the USA, and Hong Kong; hosting of a Miss World 2007 luncheon serving 2000 guests; and is regularly featured in publications such as the Mango in-flight magazine, Destiny MAN magazine, SABC TV and radio and Radio 702. Sakhumzi has also been a guest speaker on the topic of entrepreneurships to corporate audiences such as Citi Bank, Deloitte, and the Wits Business School.
The Economist Corporate Network (ECN) is the Economist Group’s executive briefing and networking service that runs a regular programme of closed-door events for senior-level executives seeking deeper insight into economic and business trends.
ECN’s mission is to help senior executives interpret how macro-level changes will impact on a micro-level in their firm and industry.