VCU’s annual International Business Forum will address challenges and opportunities in Africa

To watch the forum live online at 3:30 p.m. on Oct. 5, go to

Virginia Commonwealth University School of Business’ 23rd annual International Business Forum will address the challenges and opportunities of the African continent as it emerges as a global powerhouse.

“Africa — The Big Emerging Continent: Opportunities and Challenges,” sponsored by Universal Corporation, will take place Thursday, Oct. 5, from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. in the University Student Commons Ballroom, 907 Floyd Ave. A reception will follow at the Snead Hall atrium, 301 W. Main St.

The globalization of business, technology and finance that created unprecedented wealth worldwide over the past 28 years largely bypassed Africa. Today, Africa has the world’s fastest growing population, largest youth market and most rapidly urbanizing population. Geographically, Africa is larger than the United States, China and India combined. The continent’s collective economic output is projected to rise to $2.6 trillion by 2020 and investments in Africa from China, Europe, the United States and other locales are unprecedented. African countries together are now described as “lions on the move,” reshaping global business opportunities and continuing to do so in the future.

The distinguished panelists are Albert G. Zeufack, Ph.D., World Bank chief economist for Africa; David H. Shinn, Ph.D., former U.S. Department of State director for East African Affairs and former U.S. ambassador to Ethiopia and Burkina Faso; Francois Baird, chairman, Baird’s CMC international consultancy; and Hans Martens, senior adviser, European Policy Center.

“For anyone interesting in knowing more about Africa in general or doing business with Africa specifically, this forum is a must,” said Van Wood, Ph.D., the Philip Morris Chair in International Business, professor of marketing and director of the VCU Center for International Business Advancement. “Africa is not just a beautiful part of our world, but it will be a major, if not the major, global player in the areas of international business, economics, politics and culture as we move deeper into the 21st century.”

The VCU School of Business established the International Business Forum in 1994 to raise awareness among students, faculty and the business community of the global nature of commerce and how this links to events both at home and abroad. This year’s forum is part of the eighth annual Conference on Business and Entrepreneurship in Africa, which VCU is hosting Oct. 4–7.

About VCU and VCU Health

Virginia Commonwealth University is a major, urban public research university with national and international rankings in sponsored research. Located in downtown Richmond, VCU enrolls more than 31,000 students in 217 degree and certificate programs in the arts, sciences and humanities. Thirty-eight of the programs are unique in Virginia, many of them crossing the disciplines of VCU’s 11 schools and three colleges. The VCU Health brand represents the VCU health sciences academic programs, the VCU Massey Cancer Center and the VCU Health System, which comprises VCU Medical Center (the only academic medical center in the region), Community Memorial Hospital, Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU, MCV Physicians and Virginia Premier Health Plan. For more, please visit and