A stellar line-up of speakers greeted delegates on the first day of this year’s Pan African Media Research Organisation (PAMRO) conference, now in its 20th year.
Proceedings were opened by PAMRO president Sifiso Falala, who is also the CEO of Plus 94 Research. He opened the conference, speaking on how media and consumer research is changing, and preparing the way for the conference’s keynote speaker, CEO of the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SACCI), Alan Mukoki.
Mukoki said SACCI’s operations and actions were guided by four principles: people, purpose, politics and policy (in that order), before delivering an address that included phrases such as, “Seek first to understand before you can be understood”, “You have an obligation to listen, even if you don’t agree with the person on the other side”, and “Only a man who crosses the river at night, knows the value of the light of day”.
Mukoki touched on three themes during his address. These were, firstly, the importance of a data-driven decision making process to assist those who find themselves at the intersection of public policy, business and society.
“So long as we can substantiate with science … and a framework that you are working with, which says ‘I can take this particular decision because it is based on some kind of sound research or thinking, then you can take decisions,” he said.
Secondly, he shared the risks that business and government are facing, and not just in terms of policy. He referred to WEF’s Global Competitiveness Index’s 12 pillars that make a country competitive, which range from institutions and infrastructure, to higher education and training, labour market efficiency, and innovation.
“We need this level of capability and understanding to enable us to navigate a very treacherous terrain today, in respect of what global challenges actually start to look like,” he added.
Thirdly, he touched on the importance of inclusivity in development. “We can’t leave masses of people behind, because we think we can build economies without them. We need to build inclusive economies … It’s important to focus on inclusive economic growth and job creation. It doesn’t help that the rich get richer. Inclusivity is a business opportunity,” he explained.
Michael Bratt is covering the PAMRO conference in Mauritius as a working guest of the research organisation.
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