It was a great honour when, in 2011, I was asked to become the one of the President of Zambia’s five wise men. Each year the president arranges a retreat with the support of the Commonwealth Business Council. The two-day retreat with his cabinet allows the President to review the strategy of the government, addressing acute pinch points in their overall policy. President Rupiah Banda was a very handsome and warm host, he greeted us personally and then we set to work with his cabinet reviewing the critical points  in his vision for his country Zambia.

The event took place in Livingston on the banks of the Zambezi River just on the crest of the beautiful Victoria Falls.

I presented the world best practice in delivery of skills and led the debate about how young people can be engaged, skilled and transformed into economically active employees. We looked at investment, employer engagement and where the new jobs would be created.

Finally following debate we constructed an action plan for approval by the President and full cabinet. And over the last 12 months I have watched as the new government took on this agenda. Recently in Perth I had a meeting with the Minister of Commerce Mr Robert Sichinga and a follow up at the Mansion House in London where I had been asked to speak on Enterprise development. He has invited to me take part this year.

It was a great honour to be able to bring some thought leadership around employment and skills to the debate and facilitate the development of new initiatives which the government has taken forward.