Mark Barnes recently sent out a tweet saying President Cyril Ramaphosa must appoint the 100 best people to fix the country. He said the President should start with 10 people, and this may be the last chance for South Africa. As provocative as this is, it does point to   the gap between huge pools of specialist expertise — in the private sector and industry and what our universities are producing to meet the challenges facing South Africa. We know there are public private partnerships (PPPs) in existence but where is the groundswell of 100 experts fixing the country?

So, what about our universities and the private sector? The interface between higher education and business is complex. Its most obvious nexus is the business school. The private sector relies on business schools to provide professional skills in the form of MBAs and DBAs in management and leadership. In the face of the 4IR are our business schools adapting quick enough, are they still fit for purpose? Are they producing graduates who are ethical, values-driven and prepared to work towards meeting the ‘wicked problems’ (electricity, water infrastructure, trains etc.) besetting our country? And the bigger question: how can higher education and business work more closely together for the re-building of the economy, re-establishing public trust and making a better country for all citizens.

To tackle these and related issues regarding the nexus of higher education and business, ENGAGE 9  hosted a conversation between Cas Coovadia (CEO, Business Unity South Africa) and Bongi Kunene (MD Banking Association South African) on Thursday, 04 August 2022 (14:00—15:30).