Kenyon CEO, Simon Hardern, spent a day supporting the African Resilience Summit event in Johannesburg at Constitution Hill; this is the home of South Africa’s highest court in the country and was at the heart of the nation’s transition to democracy in the 1990s.
In particular, Simon sat on a Discussion Panel covering Security and Risk Management and how to plan for resiliency. They considered what constitutes a crisis, how to prepare for it and what are the essential things to know when in Africa. One thing everyone agreed upon when talking about preparedness is that planning alone is essential but planning and then training those plans are the critical ingredients.
With various types of crises, from man-made to natural disasters, the panel looked at the key elements of how to ensure a country or a business is ready for when they are confronted by crisis. In concluding this discussion, the panel members agreed that:
- Africa needs to better understand what the critical ingredients are for enhancing resilience on the continent - resilience is best done from the bottom-up and not from the top-down;
- Sometimes, local context is very challenging. African resilience systems are reactive rather than about risk reduction; they do not work well and, even worse, resources are scarce. As a result, there needs to be a focus on understanding that African resilience is often an ‘agent based’ system and works because of the role of key gatekeepers and key networks to keep going when a crisis unfolds;
- We also need to fix what is practical and viable to achieve as part of our planning process; understanding what the points of failure in an African disaster are, is critical. It follows, therefore, that training should be viewed as a worthwhile investment and not a cost.