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AVN at the World Economic Forum

At the beginning of May, Thomas Granier, Director General and co-founder of AVN, was invited by the Schwab Foundation to take part in the World Economic Forum on Africa, in Durban, South Africa. The meeting convened regional and global leaders from business, government and civil society to agree priorities that will help Africa achieve inclusive growth through responsive and responsible leadership.

A four-day ’Solutions Summit’ was organised alongside the Forum, uniting three networks brought together by the Schwab Foundation: the Young Global Leaders, the Global Shapers and the Schwab Social Entrepreneurs. Thomas Granier and Séri Youlou, as co-founders of AVN, were recognised in this last category in 2012, when AVN won the African Social Entrepreneur of the Year award.

Discussion between the members of these three networks and other participants, moderated by the Schwab Foundation team, led Thomas Granier to re-think some of his key positions on aspects of the AVN programme:

  • to distance himself from day-to-day contingencies and responsibilities, and to widen AVN’s strategic vision;
  • to take more account of the experiences of his partners and colleagues, and to listen to and be advised by them;
  • to be at ease with the distinction acquired by AVN, but also to be aware of the humility required for the successful achievement of our goals and tasks.

During the World Economic Forum, many important contacts were made with international aid and corporate actors. AVN is seeking to better understand the expectations and programmes of such potential partners so as to be able to offer operational modes adapted to their contexts, consistent with AVN’s overall vision: affordable and sustainable housing for the many, as soon as possible.