Equity Bank Group CEO Dr. James Mwangi has been appointed to the Global Agenda Council on New Economic Thinking which is a council of the World Economic Forum. The council is a global brain trust that will set the direction for global, regional and industry agendas. The appointment comes shortly after Dr Mwangi received an invitation to serve as a council member at the G8 New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition. The New Alliance is a shared commitment to achieve sustained and inclusive agricultural growth and raise 50 million people out of poverty over the next 10 years by aligning the commitment of Africa’s leadership to drive effective country plans and policies for food security; the commitments of private sector partners to increase investments where the conditions are right; and the commitments of the G8 to expand Africa’s potential for rapid and sustainable agricultural growth. The New Alliance brings together top level leaders in multi-stakeholder sectors including governments, international organizations, the private sector, civil society as well as research and academia.

Speaking on his return from the New Alliance meeting, Dr Mwangi said, “The New Alliance will address fundamental issues that have hindered Africa from becoming the bread basket for the world. With about 60% of the arable land in the world in Africa, there is great potential for the continent to be food secure and feed the rest of the World. The New Alliance will work with the G8 countries to support African initiatives in exploiting its agricultural potential. Further, the New Alliance will also focus on how financial systems can be developed to support commercialization of Agriculture in Africa. To increase our food production we should treat agricultural production more than mere occupation.  It has to be commercialized. We also need value addition to make agriculture more attractive particularly to the youth who have the intellect, energy and education to be the agents of change in Africa. We must modernize agriculture from the panga and traditional hoe and mechanize. We must stop relying on rain fed agriculture and we must use fertilizers and agrochemicals to have the intended impact.”

Professor Klaus Schwab, the Founder Chairman of the World Economic Forum said while inviting Dr Mwangi to the Council, “ never before has there been a more urgent and relevant time for such an interdisciplinary expert network to provide thought leadership.”

The council will focus mainly on a two themed approach; the first one will be the new economic thinking for better economic policy to address the threats posed by rising income inequality including unemployment while the second theme will focus on new economic thinking for more stable financial markets with a view to helping better understand and manage the dynamic relationship between the financial markets and the real economy.

Dr. Mwangi has become an instrumental opinion and thought leader in matters of regional and global economic development. Speaking on the recent appointments, Dr Mwangi who is also the 2012 Ernst & Young World Entrepreneur Of The Year said, "It is a great honor and a humbling moment.  Africa is standing at the brink of economic take off and needs a concerted effort in embracing new thinking and innovations to realise the continent’s potential. There is need for a multi sectoral approach in making Africa the next growth frontier in the world by harnessing the continent’s potential.  Global Agenda Council on New Economic Thinking will focus on current challenges including unemployment, food insecurities, debt and weak financial systems that call for the world to rethink the current structures, policies and economic models.

As the Chairman of Kenya’s Vision 2030, I will ensure that we align the aspirations of the country’s economic strategies to the new world thinking in order to reap the intended benefits”.

These appointments are a testimony that Africa’s participation will increasingly play a key role in shaping the global agenda.

"I am committed to work with other likeminded thought leaders at the two councils in developing a strategic direction and relevant outcomes that will deliver new and actionable solutions," he added

  “With such strong thought leadership and commitment from the world’s brightest minds, in diverse fields, I am confident that this will be the Network’s most active year yet,” said Martina Gmür, Senior Director and Head of the Network of Global Agenda Councils, World Economic Forum.

About Dr James Mwangi, CBS

Dr. Mwangi is a career banker with a bias in inclusive finance. He is the Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Equity Bank. Equity Bank is the leading inclusive bank in Africa in terms of customer base with nearly 8 million bank accounts which is nearly 50 % of all bank accounts in Kenya and has presence in Uganda, South Sudan, Rwanda and Tanzania. It is listed at the Nairobi and Uganda Securities Exchanges.  Dr. Mwangi is also the Chairman of Equity Group Foundation (EGF) whose goal is to transform the socio-economic status of people in Africa. 

Dr. James Mwangi won the 2012 Ernst & Young World Entrepreneur of the Year becoming the first business leader from Sub Saharan Africa to win this prestigious award. He was also among the finalists who were inducted to the Entrepreneur Of The Year Hall of Fame and the World Entrepreneurship Academy.  He holds four honorary doctorate degrees in recognition of his contributions to the Kenyan society. He holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree and is a Certified Public Accountant. He is currently the Chairman of Kenya's Vision 2030 Delivery Board.

Dr Mwangi serves at the Global Advisory Council of VISA Inc and is a member of the Clinton Global Initiative. He is the holder of the Global Vision Award alongside Nobel laureate Prof.Mohammed Yunus of Grameen bank, and was cited as an “Initiator of the concept of the future that will shape the world economy” The Financial Times named him among the top fifty emerging world thought leaders. Dr. Mwangi has been instrumental in shaping global development policies by serving on the UN Advisory Groups on Inclusive Finance as well as on Global Sustainability. Dr Mwangi is also a certified Retail Banker and was admitted to the honorary membership of the International Academy of Retail Banking. He is a member of the G20 Advisory Board on Agriculture and serves as a member of the World Economic Council. In 2011, Forbes named Dr Mwangi among the twenty most influential people in the African Business and in 2012 as the Forbes East Africa Business Leader. He is a guest lecturer in Stanford, Columbia, MIT and Lagos business school where the Equity Bank business model is a case study.

About the G8 New Alliance for Food Security & Nutrition

The New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition ( The New Alliance) is envisioned to be an enduring partnership between G8 Members . In the G8 context, the New Alliance will deliver both country – level outcomes and the enabling tools needed to take these outcomes to scale across Africa.  The council comprises of top –level leaders in multi-stakeholder sectors such as senior government officials from G8 countries, HE Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania, HE President Alassane Quattara of Cote d’Ivore, HE President Armando Quebaza of Mozambique, H.E Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn of Ethiopia. Other members include CEO NEPAD, Chairperson African Union, President IFAD, international organizations, the private sector, civil society and research institutions.

About The World Economic Forum

The World Economic Forum is an independent international organization committed to improving the state of the world by engaging business, political, academic and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas.

About Global Agenda Council on New Economic Thinking

The Council was created by the World Economic Forum to bring together the leading thinkers across academia, the private sector, and the public sector, to focus on new economic thinking to address pressing challenges, individuals and societies face in market economies around the world. The Council will identify breakthrough ideas and new pathways to advance critical issues and ensure progress is made on the global agenda.

The World Economic Forum’s Agenda Councils make up the world’s foremost intellectual network, convening the most relevant and knowledgeable though leaders from businesses, government, academia and civil society to address key global issues. Serving as a global brain trust, insights and recommendations from the Councils not only help inform the Forum’s programming, including at the Annual Meeting in Davos but also set the direction for global, regional and industry agendas. The council members include Xu Xiaonin of China Europe International Business School (CEIBS), Ricardo Hausmann of Harvard Kennedy School, Shamshad Akhtar of United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs,  Mohamed O. A. Balfaqeeh of Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development, United Arab Emirates, Ernst Fehr of University of Zurich, Andrew Sheng Len Tao of China Banking Regulatory Commission, Gene Frieda of Moore Capital Management  LLC, Coen Teulings of CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis, Nicholas Barberis of Yale University, Niall Ferguson of Harvard University, James Heckman of University of Chicago , Raghuram G. Rajan of University of Chicago Booth School of Business among others.

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