AABS 2024 Connect Conference

With the theme “Pioneering Change: The Role of African Business Schools in Navigating the Future,” the conference will explore how African Business Schools shape the future landscape.
May 30, 2024
8:00 am
GIBS Business School (Gordon Institute of Business Science): 26 Melville Rd, Illovo, Johannesburg, 2196, South Africa
2:00 pm
June 1, 2024


Scientific Committee

Conference Streams

In an era of unprecedented challenges and opportunities, this conference unveils the pivotal role of African Business Schools as drivers of transformative change. With a focus on "Pioneering Change," the conference explores how African Business Schools shape the future landscape. The conference is designed around five key streams:

Technology: Impact of Data and AI

Uncover the transformative impact of technology, data, and artificial intelligence in reshaping the business landscapes. Explore how African Business Schools leverage innovative approaches to sustainable change.


Navigate the complexities of geopolitics and the challenges facing the role of democracy and the evolving role of African Business Schools in contributing to regional and global discussions around geopolitical shifts and the importance of democracy in driving positive change.

Climate Change and the Broader Environment

Explore the critical role of African Business Schools in addressing environmental challenges and promoting sustainability. Understand how these institutions contribute to fostering a business ethos aligned with environmental responsibility.

Power of Community, Ecosystems, and Social Capital

Examine the influence of community, ecosystems, and social capital in the business landscape. Discover how African Business Schools foster collaboration, build social capital, and contribute to the development of robust business ecosystems.

Wellness and Wellbeing

Learn how African Business Schools pioneer change by prioritizing physical, mental, and emotional health. Sessions focus on work-life balance, mental resilience, and sustainable well-being practices, inspiring a thriving community that will be complemented by daily activities throughout the conference.

Join us for a thought-provoking exploration of these streams, where leaders, educators, and industry experts converge to shape the narrative of African Business Schools in navigating the future. Be part of the conversation and contribute to pioneering change!

Conference Activities

Victoria Yard: Explore a Creative Space for Social Innovators

Victoria Yards is an innovative urban complex situated in the heart of Johannesburg, South Africa, that has been transformed from a series of dilapidated industrial buildings into a vibrant hub for arts, crafts, and urban farming. This unique space, blending greenery with the gritty history of its industrial past, provides a sanctuary for artists, artisans, and creators, offering studios, galleries, and workshops where they can work and showcase their talents.  

Not just a place for the arts, Victoria Yards also fosters community engagement and sustainable practices through social innovative ideas, featuring vegetable gardens and spaces for urban agriculture that supply fresh produce to local markets and restaurants. Its architecture, retaining the character of the original buildings while incorporating eco-friendly and sustainable materials, stands as a testament to thoughtful urban redevelopment.  

With its eclectic mix of art exhibitions, creative workshops, and community events, Victoria Yards has become a cultural hotspot, attracting visitors from all walks of life. It's a place where the local community and visitors alike can explore a wide array of crafts, enjoy culinary delights, and engage in a variety of cultural experiences, making it a great location to meet social innovators who will inspire you and spark conversations.

Constitutional Hill: Exploring South Africa’s Rich History

Constitution Hill, located in the heart of Johannesburg, South Africa, is not only a site of historical significance but also a symbol of hope, democracy, and the resilience of the human spirit. Once the site of a notorious prison complex, where both ordinary criminals and political detainees, including Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi, were held, it has been transformed into the home of the Constitutional Court of South Africa.  

This transformation from a place of oppression to one of justice is palpable as you walk through the precinct. Visitors can explore various exhibitions and installations that narrate the tumultuous history of South Africa, the struggle against apartheid, and the country's journey towards democracy. The Old Fort, Women's Jail, and Number Four are some of the historical buildings within the complex that have been preserved as museums, offering poignant insights into the harsh realities of the past.  

The architecture of the Constitutional Court itself is a testament to transparency and inclusivity, with its unique design incorporating elements of South African cultural heritage, and utilizing materials from the demolished section of the prison in its construction. The court is open to the public, allowing visitors to witness the workings of South Africa's highest court, underscoring the country's commitment to democracy and human rights.  

Constitution Hill is more than a historical landmark; it's a vibrant cultural precinct that hosts various events, including art exhibitions, theatrical performances, and music concerts. Its significance as a site of conscience, justice, and reconciliation, along with its cultural offerings, makes it a must-visit destination for anyone looking to understand South Africa's past and its hopes for the future.

Corporate Insights: Unlocking Success Stories in South Africa




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GIBS Business School (Gordon Institute of Business Science)

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GIBS Business School (Gordon Institute of Business Science), University of Pretoria


GIBS Business School (Gordon Institute of Business Science): 26 Melville Rd, Illovo, Johannesburg, 2196, South Africa

Accommodation & Visa:


The conference team has secured preferential hotel rates. Each delegate is responsible for making their own hotel reservation. Please note that special room blocks are based on availability at discounted rates until 29th April 2024.

The recommended AABS Connect Conference hotels are :

Protea by Marriott Hotel Johannesburg Wanderers

  • Standard/Single Room (Bed & Breakfast): R1,430 ($75.94) per night
  • To make your booking please use the hotel booking link.

GIBS Illovo Hotel (Hotel at Venue)

  • Standard Room: R1,100 ($57.71) per night
  • Booking code: 26674
  • To make your booking please send all your information to

Garden Court Sandton City

Visa Information:

Passport holders exempt from visas for South Africa, click on this link.

Citizens with passports from countries not listed in the exempt list need to apply for a visa at the embassy or consulate to enter South Africa click on this link.

Kindly contact the South African Embassy in your country for more detailed requirements.


Alistair Mokoena

Google SA’s Country Director (South Africa)
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Dr. Alistair Mokoena is the Country Director for Google South Africa. His academic qualifications include Bcomm, LLB, Management Development Programme (MDP), Executive Development Programme (EDP), MBA and PhD in Business Administration. He is a qualified Chartered Marketer with 25 years corporate experience. He spent the first half of his career in the following roles: Brand Manager at Unilever, Senior Brand Manager at Tiger Brands, Marketing Manager SAB Miller, Marketing Director at Mondelez and Absa bank respectively.

Dr. Mokoena has dedicated the second half of his career to executive roles in the advertising, media and technology industries, as well as academia. He was previously Managing Director of FCB Advertising Agency and Group Chief Executive Officer of Ogilvy South Africa where he spearheaded their digital transformation journey and presided over Ogilvy’s record-setting award wins. He has received many industry awards over the years including the Global Brands’ Best Advertising and Marketing Leader in South Africa in 2019.

He joined Google in April 2020 as Country Director for South Africa. His role involves managing Google’s commercial operations in Southern Africa and collaborating with customers and social partners in accelerating Africa’s digital transformation. Bridging the digital divide is an ideal that inspires Dr. Mokoena to ensure that Africa benefits from Google’s technology.

Dr. Mokoena previously served on a number of Marketing and Advertising industry bodies in the following capacities: Deputy Chairman of the Association for Communication and Advertising (ACA), Chairman of the Integrated Advertising Bureau (IAB), member of the Advertising Regulatory Board’s (ARB) Final Appeal Committee, founding member of the Johannesburg Business School’s International Advisory Board, and member of the University of Johannesburg’s Institute for Intelligent Systems’ Advisory Board. He currently serves on the Advisory Board of the North West University Business School, and is a board member for the American Society of South Africa.

Dr. Mokoena is an Extraordinary Professor of Practice at the North-West University Business School, an external examiner for Botho University in Botswana, a postgraduate supervisor at Vega School and a Council member at the University of Johannesburg. He has published articles in academic journals, contributed book chapters, reviewed several books and delivered papers at international academic conferences. He recently launched his first book, “Servings of self-mastery” which is in the top 50 fastest selling books across all book genres in South Africa. He coaches young professionals, mentors Small Micro and Medium Enterprises and is a regular guest speaker at international business schools and at industry events. He is passionate about the role that responsible Artificial Intelligence can play in making the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals a reality in our lifetime

Barry van Zyl

Faculty at Henley Business School (South Africa)
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Barry van Zyl is a world-renowned musician with over 30 years experience in thecreative sector, from performance and production to executive education,strategy and business development. Having toured the world for 21 years withSouth Africa’s most famous export, Johnny Clegg, and while working with artistslike Annie Lennox, Carlos Santana, Peter Gabriel and Die Antwoord, Barrycompleted an MBA at Henley Business School and is now focused on the businessof music, creativity, and culture. Since 2018 Barry has been growing newbusiness for Henley Business School, starting in Nigeria and then in otherareas of west and east Africa, with the aim of ‘building the people, that buildthe businesses that build Africa’. As the Chair of Henley’s pan-African Alumnicommunity, Barry is leveraging Henley’s network of 80,000 alumni to build thebrand in new territories, develop the offer in existing markets, and createinnovative new revenue streams. Barry is partnering with premium organizationslike the Temple Management & Ogidi Studios group, and developing excitingprojects focused on creativity, content production, the future of music andeducation. In addition to this work, Barry embraces his passion for themarriage of the creative sector and executive leadership by designing anddelivering corporate leadership programs in creativity and innovation,entrepreneurship, and the business of rhythm. His clients include major SouthAfrican companies in financial and professional services, energy, travel andeducation. Despite his immense success in the creative industry, Barry’s mostimportant job is being a role model to his teenage daughter.

Andrew Main Wilson

CEO, AMBA & BGA (United Kingdom)
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Andrew is Chief Executive of AMBA &BGA – the Association of MBAs and the Business Graduates Association.

Andrew commenced his career with Thomson Holidays (now TUI), then the world’s largest travel tour operator. He progressed to become Marketing and Commercial Director of Thomas Cook and then Sales and Marketing Director of Citibank Diners Club. He subsequently joined the Institute of Directors (IoD) as Chief Operating Officer.

Andrew has a strong interest in global leadership excellence. He has interviewed more than 100 of the world’s most influential leaders, in the fields of business, politics, sport and entertainment, including Bill Gates, Baroness Thatcher, HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Jack Welch, Sir Richard Branson and Sir David Attenborough. 

John North

Executive Director The Globally Responsible Leadership Initiative (South Africa)
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John is an integrative entrepreneur working across society, business and education to catalyse the development of global responsibility. During his undergraduate studies John founded two internet companies and went on to complete an MBA degree at the University of Pretoria's Graduate School of Management. He then worked at Discovery Health before joining Accenture's Strategy consulting division where he later set up the Sustainability practice in Dublin, Ireland. His passion to make a difference in his home country brought him back to SA in 2009 where he combines local advisory work with an international role as Executive Director of the Globally Responsible Leadership Initiative (GRLI). The GRLI is held in strategic partnership with EFMD, AACSB International, oikos international and was co-founded with endorsement from the UN Global Compact.

Karen Basiye

Director of Sustainable Business and Social Impact at Safaricom (Kenya)
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Karen Basiye is a keen Sustainability Practitioner and a Corporate Environment Manager with 15 years’ experience. Over the years she has worked at the National Environment Management Authority and Safaricom where she developed competencies in Leadership, Governance, Strategic Thinking, Sustainability Reporting (both Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) and United Nations Global Compact (UNGC), Social Policy, Corporate Environmental Management, Environmental Management Systems including ISO certification and Environmental policies, Environment Risk Management, Environmental Compliance Assessment, Energy and Climate change policies, Strategies for Sustainable Development, Integrated Product Policies, Sustainable Consumption and Production and integration of Sustainable Development Goals into company strategies.

Karen holds a Joint Master of Environmental Science, Policy and Management degree from Lund University (Sweden), University of Manchester (UK), Central European University (Hungary) and University of the Aegean (Greece) and a Bachelor of Environment Science degree from Kenyatta University.

Currently at Safaricom, Karen is the Director Sustainable Business Social Impact and The Foundations. She is passionate about the interplay between People, Purpose and Profits.

She has served at various University Councils, seats on the Governing Council of KEPSA as the Vice chair of the Environment Sector Board and is a Strategic Advisor on various Boards. She has been recognised as an SDG Pioneer by the Global Compact Kenya.

Mario Legido

Institutional Relations Manager ETS-GRE (Netherlands)
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Mario is the Institutional Relations Manager for ETS-GRE in EMEA. ETS stands for Educational Testing Service and is the largest private, not-for-profit educational testing and assessment organization and the creator of the GRE® General Test - the world's most widely used graduate and professional school admissions test. Previously, Mario held similar positions at other international assessment organizations such as Instituto Cervantes (Spain's Ministry of Foreign Affairs) and Cambridge Assessment English (University of Cambridge).


In his current role, Mario works closely with universities, colleges and business schools in the region to help them attract top talent to their master's and doctoral programs by using GRE® scores as part of their holistic admissions process. Mario also works closely with student organizations to promote ETS's mission of advancing quality and equity in education for all learners worldwide.

Nicola Kleyn

Ex Dean of the University of Pretoria’s Gordon Institute of Business Science (South Africa)
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Nicola Kleyn is an Extraordinary Professor at the University of Pretoria’s Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS). Nicola was the dean of GIBS from 2015 to 2020 and the former dean of Post-Experience Education at the Rotterdam School of Management between 2020 and 2023. Nicola now lives in Atlanta (USA) and is an active researcher in the fields of corporate branding and academic leadership. She also regularly travels to South Africa to teach a number of marketing and branding courses at GIBS and is an active supporter of a number of business school organisations including AABS.

Ralph Hamann

Professor at the UCT Graduate School of Business (South Africa)
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Ralph is professor at the UCT Graduate School of Business. He works on business sustainability and social innovation and entrepreneurship and his papers address topics such as environmental strategy of wine firms, corporate responsibility and irresponsibility in mining, and social innovation through cross-sector collaboration. Previously, he was Research Director at the UCT Graduate School of Business, and Research Chair at the African Climate and Development Institute. Among his other roles, he is the co-founder of the South African leg of the Embedding Project and the Southern Africa Food Lab, two award-winning initiatives bridging research and practice. He is an executive editor of Environment: Science and Policy for Sustainable Development, and a member of the editorial board of Strategic Organization. Ralph has been a visiting scholar or consultant in different parts of the world, most recently as Pearson Visiting Professor of Engineering and Entrepreneurship at Brown University.



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Transfers from Protea by Marriott Hotel Johannesburg Wanderers to The Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS)


Registrations and Networking

Official Welcome

●  Lyal White, AABS Board Member and Conference Chair (South Africa)

●  Lana Elramly, AABS Executive Director (South Africa)


Bus Departure from Protea by Marriott Hotel Johannesburg Wanderers to Activities

09h45 - 13h30
●  Lessons From The Past: Exploring South Africa's Rich History (Constitutional Hill)
●  Corporate Insights: Unlocking Success Stories in South Africa
●  Explore a Creative Space for Social Innovators (Victoria Yard)

Activities will happen in parallel


Transfer from Activities to Protea by Marriott Hotel Johannesburg Wanderers

15h00 - 17h00

Annual General Meeting at Protea by Marriott Hotel Johannesburg Wanderers

18h00 - 20h00

Welcome Reception at Protea Rooftop Deck


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Transfer from Protea by Marriott Hotel Johannesburg Wanderers to The Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS)

08h30 - 09h00

Registrations and Networking

09h00 - 09h15
Welcome Note

● Morris Mthombeni, Dean of the University of Pretoria’s Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS) (South Africa)

● Jon Foster-Pedley, AABS Chairman, Dean and Director of Henley Business School in Africa (South Africa)

09h15 - 10h00
Keynote Address

● Alistair Mokoena, Google SA’s Country Director (South Africa)

10h00 - 10h15
Keynote Discussion


●  Lyal White, AABS Board Member and Conference Chair (South Africa)

10h15 - 10h45

Networking Break

10h45 - 12h15
Deans Roundtable

Future Horizons of African Business Schools

Leaders of African business schools collectively shape the narrative of African business education. This session aims to inspire collaborative strategies, shed light on best practices, and foster a shared vision for the future of business schools in Africa.


●  Lyal White, AABS Board Member and Conference Chair (South Africa)

12h15 - 12h30

Group Picture

12h30 - 13h30

Networking Lunch

13h30 - 15h45

Connect Streams

Connect Streams will happen in parallel

Technology: Impact of Data and AI

●  Hemachandran Kannan, Director - AI Research Centre and Associate Dean-Graduate Program at Woxsen School of Business (India)

●  Greg Serandos, Co-Founder of African Academy of Artificial Intelligence (South Africa)


● Mills Soko, Professor of International Business and Strategy at Wits Business School (South Africa)

● Casear Mungi, Executive Dean at Strathmore University Business School (Kenya)

Climate Change and the Broader Environment

●  Ralph Hamman, Deputy Director: Faculty & Research Graduate School of Business atUniversity of Cape Town (South Africa)

●  Salma ElMasri, Sustainability Consultant & ESG Strategist, Secretary General Office at ESLSCA University (Egypt)

Power of Community, Ecosystems, and Social Capital

●  Tiekie Barnard, CEO of the SVAI and Shift Impact Africa (South Africa)

●  Immaculata Segooa, Head of Integrated Marketing Communication at Discovery Limited (South Africa)

●  Karen Basiye, Director of Sustainable Business and Social Impact at Safaricom (Kenya)

Wellness and Wellbeing

●  Barry Van Zyl, School Faculty at Henley Business School (South Africa)

●  Priyal Ramdass, Director at Connect Consulting (South Africa)

15h45 - 16h00
Overview of First Day


●  Lyal White, AABS Board Member and Conference Chair (South Africa)


Transfer from GIBS to Protea by Marriott Hotel Johannesburg Wanderers


Transfer to Gala Dinner from Protea by Marriott Hotel Johannesburg Wanderers

19h00 - 22h00

Gala Dinner and Award Ceremony


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Transfer to Venue

08h30 - 09h00

Registration and Refreshments

09h00 - 10h15
Charting the Future: Collaborative Strategies for African Business Schools: Connect Streams Conversations Debrief


●  Lyal White, AABS Board Member and Conference Chair (South Africa)

10h15 - 11h00
Key Insights from AABS Accreditation to Date

●  Nicola Kleyn, Ex Dean of the University of Pretoria’s Gordon Institute of Business Science (South Africa)

11h00 - 11h15

Networking Break

11h15 - 12h00
2030: How African Business Schools Helped Address the Meta-Crisis

●  John North, Executive Director at The Globally Responsible Leadership Initiative (South Africa)

●  Dan LeClair, CEO of GBSN (USA)

Session 4: TBA

Sessions will happen in parallel

12h00 - 12h45
Empowering the Relevance of African Business Schools

●  Andrew Main Wilson, Chief Executive Officer at AMBA (United Kingdom)

●  Mario Legido, Institutional Relations Manager at ETS-GRE (Netherlands)

12h45 - 13h00
Closing and Wrap Up

●  Morris Mthombeni, Dean of the University of Pretoria’s Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS) (South Africa)

●  Jon Foster-Pedley, AABS Chairman | Dean and Director of Henley Business School in Africa (South Africa)

13h00 - 14h00

Farewell Lunch


Transfer from GIBS to Protea by Marriott Hotel Johannesburg Wanderers

Registration Prices:

Regular prices registration from Friday, March 1, 2024:

*All Prices Excluding PayPal fees

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