On 20 October, Phuthi Mahanyele-Dabengwa, CEO South Africa Naspers, participated in a panel discussion at the BRICS Business Forum 2020. The meeting, usually part of the annual BRICS Summit, was hosted virtually for the first time this year due to COVID-19 restrictions.
During this session, industry leaders discussed the topic of “Digital Economy and Innovation” and specifically how digital technologies can aid the economic recovery of the BRICS nations after COVID-19. Representing South Africa, Mahanyele-Dabengwa shared her insights on the vital steps needed for the BRICS countries to build inclusive societies and contribute to a more productive economies.
“Opportunities across the world and especially in the BRICS nations for technology to improve people’s everyday lives are boundless,” she said. “As we’ve seen in our payment business in India PayU, where there has been a massive structural shift to digital payments, it is important that financial inclusion and credit in our payment’s business is done in a responsible way.”
From the growth of the food delivery service iFood in Brazil to the launch of the online car history reports platform Autoteka in Russia, Phuthi highlighted how Naspers has contributed to the developing economies that underpin the bond between the BRICS countries. She also illustrated the value of public-private-partnerships (PPPs) through the South African Government’s response to COVID-10 when personal protective equipment (PPE) was shipped to South Africa with the help of the Chinese Government and through the logistical infrastructure of Tencent in China and Takealot in South Africa.
“Africa, and our fellow nations in BRICS, needs to generate economic growth that will create sustainable jobs and support careers of the future to establish the larger growing populations of youngsters entering the workforce,” she said.
Alongside Mahanyele-Dabengwa was the COO of IBM South Africa Ziaad Suleman. Ziaad said that although 2020 commenced with great optimism, it was a challenging year for a number of reasons not limited to COVID-19, negative growth and the general functional change societal flux has brought in all of us. “Regardless, what has become important is leadership, innovation, value centricity, economies of scale and agility in order to find practical solutions to aid economic growth, sustainability and inclusivity,” he said. “The world of digital transformation certainly has the key attributes in order to deliver that optimism and in order to create a better tomorrow.”
The session was moderated by Anna Nesterova, Founder and Chairperson of Global Rus Trade – the first Russian B2B cross-border e-commerce platform. Representing the other BRICS nations on the panel were Marcelo Cosentino (Brazil), Henrique Paiva (Brazil), Artem Sokolov (Russia), Ajai Chowdhry (India), Himanshu Kapania (India), Meng Shusen (China) and Jiang Yan (China).
This post was sponsored by Naspers and produced by BrandStudio24.