23rd International Business Forum- 2017

Conversation icons

When: Thur., Oct. 5 @ 3:30
Ends: Wed., Oct. 5 @ 5:30
Host: Department of Marketing
Additional Host: VCU School of Business Center for International Business Advancement
Event contact: Van R. Wood, Ph.D. Philip Morris Chair in International Business Professor of International Marketing Virginia Commonwealth University School of Business Snead Hall, Room B4102 301 West Main Street PO Box 844000 Richmond, Virginia 23284-4000 Office: (804) 828-1746 Mobile: (804) 519-2022 Fax: (804) 828-8884 E-mail: vrwood@vcu.edu
Audience: Graduate students, Undergraduate students, Alumni, Business community, Prospective graduate students, Prospective undergraduate students
Building: University Student Commons Ballroom
Address: 907 Floyd Avenue

Moderator: Dr. Van Wood 

Dr. Van Wood, VCU Professor of International Marketing and Philip Morris Endowed Chair in International Business

Keynote Speakers include:

  • Dr. Albert G. Zeaufack, World Bank Chief Economist of Africa
  • Dr. David H. Shinn, former U.S. Ambassador to Ethiopia, Burkina Faso
  • Francois Baird, Chairman, Baird's CMC - International Consultancy
  • Hans Martens, Senior Adviser and former CEO, European Policy Center

Reception to follow:

From 5:30 to 7:00 p.m.

VCU School of Business Atrium

301 W. Main Street

Richmond, VA

For more information,

contact Dr. Van Wood at vrwood@vcu.edu

We all know Africa is not a country.  Africa contains 54 countries and literally thousands of ethnic and linguistic groupings.  While broad generalizations about Africa (or any continent) are to be taken cautiously, the old view of Africa as the “hopeless continent” is being replaced with a new view, that being “Africa rising.”  This view is strongly supported by evidence of Africa’s new consumer class and sizeable technology movement, its record private investments and GDP projections.  Thus, Africa can no longer be viewed as all good nor all bad.  Any well versed contemporary understanding of Africa requires rigorous analysis of present-day realities that is also historically informed. 

The African continent is larger than the U.S., China and India combined.  The climate and geography of its 54 countries (48 in Sub-Saharan Africa) are varied and highly distinctive in the world.  There are jungles in Sierra Leone; rain forests in the Ivory Coast, deserts in Ethiopia, Botswana, Namibia and South Africa and geographic wonders such as Victoria Falls (that touches Zambia and Zimbabwe) and Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park.  Africa still gets snow on Mount Kilimanjaro (Tanzania) ,South Africa’s Drakensberg and Lesotho’s Maluti Mountains.  Africa’s wildlife is in a category by itself.

Perhaps the most poignant profile of Africa for is that of its people.  Africa is the most diverse continent on the planet (as noted previously, having more than 2000 linguistic and ethnic groups). Africa has the world’s fastest-growing population (passing a billion in 2009). It has the largest youth population (200 million between the ages of 15 and 24), and the most rapidly urbanizing population (over 3% of its population move from rural to urban areas each year).  Africa has the world’s fastest growing consumer class, with respect to expansion of individual spending power.  Put these numbers together with the continent’s current general abatement of conflict and greater political stability and clearly, Africa has and will continue to have a prominent role in the 21st Century.

The story unfolded at the forum explored the challenges and opportunities of this big emerging continent.  It was a story that involved not just Africa but the community of nations as a whole. It was a story that was heard by all who cared about the development of our planet in general and global business development more specifically. 

The forum brought together four unique individuals with significant global experiences and insights.  They shared their thoughts on Africa from their own perspective.  

Van R. Wood, Ph.D., Coordinator - VCU International Business Forum
Philip Morris Endowed Chair in International Business and Professor of International Marketing
Director – VCU School of Business Center for International Business Advancement (CIBA)
Virginia Commonwealth University
School of Business
Richmond, Virginia, U.S.A.


Dr. Van Wood
Professor of International Marketing and Philip Morris Endowed Chair in International Business

Virginia Commonwealth University School of Business
Read more »
/media/business/images/events/guest-speaker-photos/Emerson Brooking_300.jpg

Emmerson T. Brooking
Writer and student of international security policy

Most recently a Research Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations
Read more »
/media/business/images/events/guest-speaker-photos/John Worthington_300.jpg

John Worthington

IBT Online
Read more »
/media/business/images/events/guest-speaker-photos/Christina Dick_300.png

Christina Dick

TFB Agency
Read more »
/media/business/images/events/guest-speaker-photos/Butch Sarma_300.jpg

Butch Sarma
Director and Entrepreneur

VCU Executive MBA program
Read more »