BU unites to talk poverty in Africa

Info graphic by Monica Lake
Info graphic by Monica Lake
Info graphic by Monica Lake

By Brooke Bailey

Africa’s growing economic opportunities will be the center of discussion this week at the Global Business Forum. The activities throughout the week will provide students the opportunity to get involved in the discussion about Africa with experts from various fields.

Baylor and the McBride Center for International Business hold the annual forum every spring. This year, the forum is titled: “Emerging Africa: Poverty Reduction and Wealth Creation.”

Most people hear about trouble in Africa, said Dr. Steve Gardner, chairman of the economics department and director of the McBride Center for International Business.

Gardner said people need to know about the business opportunities and economic development that Africa has to offer.

“The purpose of the forum is to make Baylor students aware of what is going on in Africa,” he said.

It’s not a traditional academic conference, where presentations are solely aimed at people in a certain field, Gardner said. The presentations and lectures are designed for any Baylor students interested in Africa.

“Even though it’s organized by the business school, anyone who’s interested in doing something with Africa should come,” he said.

The forum started Monday with a film screening about 10 companies in Africa titled “Africa Open for Business.” Panel discussions, guest speakers, a dinner and a luncheon are in the line-up for the rest of the week.

The first panel discussion, titled “Business With a Mission in Africa,” will be held from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. today on the fifth floor of Cashion Academic Center. Associate professor of management and entrepreneurship Dr. Blaine McCormick, associate professor of marketing Dr. Jeff Tanner and associate dean for research and faculty development Dr. Cindy Riemenschneider will lead the conversation.

Stephen Hayes, of the Corporate Council on Africa, will speak at the opening dinner Wednesday night on the fifth floor of Cashion.

A series of lectures will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. Thursday on the fifth floor of Cashion. Eleven guest speakers are participating in the lectures.

A free luncheon will also take place from 12:30 to 1:45 p.m. on Thursday. Vijay Mahajan, professor in the department of marketing administration at the University of Texas at Austin, will speak at the luncheon. Students planning to attend the luncheon must also register online.

Gardner said Thursday’s events line up with class blocks, so students can hopefully have the opportunity to attend when they don’t have class.

“If a student comes to the fifth floor of Cashion, something will be going on,” Gardener said of Thursday’s events.

The forum will end with a panel discussion titled “Baylor Students in Africa.” A group of Baylor alumni and current students will share stories about their experiences there.

The event is open to the public, although students in particular are encouraged to attend the discussion, which will take place from 2:30 to 4 p.m. Friday on the fifth floor of Cashion.

Students can register online at https://www.baylor.edu/business/globalbusinessforum/.