In November 2014, Brisbane hosted the G20 Leaders Summit. To ensure that the G20 would leave a valuable long-term legacy for Brisbane, the city initiated the Brisbane Global Café, a high-profile programme with 80 international speakers converging on Brisbane for thought provoking and engaging global discussions. Chris Whelan, our CEO, was one of the speakers at this event which took place on 12 – 13 November 2014.
The Brisbane Global Café, a first for a G20 host city, focused on five key themes: Cities of the Future; Improving Human Life; Powering Future Economies – Energy; The Digital Age – Innovation and Entrepreneurship; and Tourism’s New Frontiers. The exciting two-day curtain-raiser to the G20 Leaders Summit, brought together organisations with similar agendas to Accelerate Cape Town from around the globe. The programme’s aim was to deepen global conversations and discuss the issue of cities’ global competitiveness, the long-term future of cities, and the role of business in charting the future.
Chris spoke during a session on New world cities: Capitalising on global trends where proceedings were opened by Dr Greg Clark who has also been working with Cape Town. Chris shared the panel with Mateu Hernández, CEO, Barcelona Global; Dr Ilse Treurnicht, CEO, MaRS Discovery District, Toronto; Ratna Omidvar, Executive Director, Global Diversity Exchange (GDX),Ted Rogers School of Management, Ryerson University; and Patrick McVeigh, GM, Economic Growth, Auckland Tourism Events and Economic Development (ATEED). Key emerging themes included talent attraction and retention, innovation and sustainable growth (both environmental and social). These are issues clearly not unique to Cape Town and it was pleasing to see that what we are doing locally holds great interest to the global business and investor community.
Interesting research by the UK Government’s Foresight Future of Cities Project resulted in The Business of Cities which looks at the value of business and evolving relationships between cities and business. Chris will be writing an overview in early 2015 of the increasingly important role of business in city governance through the formation of business leadership organisations such as Accelerate Cape Town.