In 1988, a group of 25 prominent business leaders convened at the Headquarters of the African Development Bank in Abidjan, to advise the then Bank President on strategies to enhance the role of private enterprises in African development. As a result, a Private Sector Development Unit was set up in the Bank for direct ADB financing of African private enterprise. After a span of two years, this informal grouping of business leaders saw the wisdom of mobilizing the African private sector into a coherent body capable of re-engineering the continental role of private enterprise as the engine of growth for Africa. Thus in March 1990, at a historic meeting in Cairo, the African Business Roundtable (ABR) was born.
The African Development Bank Group (ADB) set up the African Business Roundtable (ABR) in 1990. The ABR is Africa’s foremost and continent-wide association of businesses and business leaders. It is an independent, non-partisan, non-profit private sector funded organization, committed to fostering African private sector-led economic growth and social development in Africa. At inception it was fully funded by the African Development Bank Group, which also provided it (ABR) an office space at its Head Office in Abidjan Cote D’Ivoire, until 1997 when the Secretariat was relocated to Sandton in Johannesburg South Africa.
The ABR presently has seven Chapters namely:
Each Regional Chapter has a Secretariat with a Regional Coordinator as the Head of Administration, an Executive Committee that is chaired by the Executive Vice President, and various other Sub-committees like Membership, Programmes, Finance and General Purpose, Research, etc.
The ABR is dedicated to achieving an African private sector led regional economic integration and sustainable economic development of Africa, based on good corporate governance and competitively open market systems. The ABR focuses on :
The ABR is committed to the realization of its Vision through the commitment of its members, who shall be policy level executives of member companies and individuals, to the following Membership Core Values:
The aim of the ABR is to help create an enabling environment conducive to good governance, responsible private investment and sustainable economic growth and development in the countries of Africa. To do this, the ABR sponsors Conferences, Workshops, Seminars, Research, Information Services, Investment related services, and educational activities.
The major activities of the ABR are founded on dialogue, research and communication. ABR programmes are focused on continuous and effective dialogue, which provides opportunities and fora for business leaders to meet regularly amongst them- selves, and with public sector officials building partnership for investment opportunities and consensus on policy reforms. These include, but are not limited to the following: