It is a great privilege to write this annual review on behalf of the Board of Directors, the Global Business Roundtable. This review will look into the activities of the organization from the Global Business Roundtable (GBR) launch and conference that was held on 18th November 2010, to the activities dating 28th February 2012. It will reflect on the programs and activities of GBR between the annual conferences, and the 2012 annual conference. We are highly privileged to report that we had a successful launch on the 18th November 2010 at the Sandton Convention Centre during our first annual conference. We hosted a gala dinner for the purpose of launching the Global Fund for Christ on the same day. The launch took place during our first annual business conference, which will from now on take place annually on the first Friday of March in order to reflect on the activities of the previous year and to review and share plans for the year ahead.
The first annual conference was well attended by different categories of members of the GBR; and invited guests who represented different sectors of society including amongst others corporates, small and medium-sized enterprises, professionals, academics, spiritual leaders, labour organisations, non-governmental organisations and other sectors of society. The conference dealt with key issues affecting society today. Among other issues discussed were global wealth versus global poverty; what governments, businesses, churches and civil society should do to address the issues of poverty around the world. It dwelt on the fact that there seems to be a concentration of wealth in the hands of the few that is one percent of the world's population.
The conference further reflected on how various sectors of the economy and others can help achieve the Millennium Development Goals, in particular looking at ways of how we can alleviate poverty and reduce unemployment around the globe. The conference was followed by a gala dinner in the evening of the launch of the Global Fund for Christ; a sister organisation sponsored and established by the Global Business Roundtable for the mobilization of all forms of resources such as cash, shares, property and other assets which would be used for the purpose of helping the poor around the world. The purpose of the Global Fund for Christ is to create opportunities for people who are less privileged than ourselves and would focus on building schools, orphanages, clinics and other related entities solely for the benefit of the poor. Both the conference and gala dinner were well attended and well supported by various sectors of society.
Period under Review
After the launch, the leaders of GBR embarked on a camp and retreat in Parys, in the Vaal, for a week of fasting, prayer and presented our plans to the Lord. It was through that one week of palpable intimacy with our Heavenly Father that we were given a growth strategy to launch GBR in other provinces of the Republic of South Africa and neighbouring countries. Before we went to the annual camp and retreat we only had one Roundtable based in Sandton, Gauteng which had been in operation for just over a year. Upon our return from the camp in February 2011 we put up a launch strategy starting from March 2011 to March 2012; a twelve month growth strategy. We are indeed privileged to say that between March 2011 and December 2011 we have launched 30 Roundtables in five provinces in South Africa, namely KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng, Northwest Province, Limpopo and Mpumalanga. We have also launched Roundtables in Swaziland, Lesotho and the Democratic Republic of Congo and Mozambique. We hope that between January 2012 and March 2013 we will launch in the remaining provinces in South Africa: the Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Northern Cape and Free State provinces. Furthermore, plans are at an advance stage for launching in the following countries: Ghana, Botswana, Mozambique, Zambia, Zimbabwe, United States of America and United Kingdom.
We are pleased that during the international launches we also led Trade and Investment Missions to Swaziland, Democratic Republic of Congo, Lesotho and Mozambique and that these missions included presentations on the business environment, business opportunities and a vibrant exchange between business and participating nations. We have seen a huge business-to-business synergy with our members, thus creating and finding networks and partners in other countries for our members. This is at the core and heart of GBR, to ensure that it facilitates business and investment opportunities for its members and partners. The business to business matchmaking and networking takes place at the highest level. In each country, Trade and Investment Promotion Agencies, Trade and Industry Departments as well as Chambers of Commerce and Business Associations present investment climate in the country as well as business opportunities.
We are also pleased to say that we have seen growth in our Roundtables in the number of people attending, topics covered and the diversity and capacity of the people now joining the various Roundtables. We are excited that as we grow, more and more capable and talented business people and professionals are coming to identify the Roundtable as their home that can accommodate them and create an environment where their spiritual development, political astuteness, business development, emotional intelligence, family development and development in other facets of their lives is stimulated.
Some of the highlights of the year included a GBR Careers Expo which was held in April 2011 in Richards Bay, KwaZulu-Natal where GBR Leadership and other strategic partners facilitated career guidance for more than 3000 students from various regions of KwaZulu- Natal. The Careers Expo included exhibitions by various companies offering opportunities to the learners. It also included presentations by professionals such as doctors, engineers, lawyers and various other professionals. One of the key focuses of the event was the visit to childheaded households and households affected by severe poverty where GBR members gave money, food, prayer and the good news of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ to those families.
GBR looks forward to having annual career expos in different provinces and in every country where it operates. It is our view that the network of professionals and entrepreneurs should benefit the students who are in pursuit of careers that will ultimately build Africa and the world at large.
We also had our high-level annual Thought Leaders dinner for 200 leaders in business, politics, government, civil society, professionals and spiritual leaders. The theme for the dinner in 2011 was Africa and African Prophecies and what they mean for Africa and Africa's economic potential today. There is a general consensus that the time for Africa has come to be the epicentre for the world's economy and that Africa's leaders should arise and seize the day. GBR has committed itself to playing a critical role in pushing Africa's agenda and Africa's potential, and ensuring that Africans play a role in achieving Africa's objectives of growing its economy, creating job opportunities and alleviating poverty.
We further wish to record that GBR partnered with the Global Institute for Evangelists headed by Bishop Dalton Keith Adams which was held in April 2011 at the Harvest Dome Church in Johannesburg. The launch was a great success and the institute started operations 2 months after the launch and enrolled about 35 student evangelists in its first year, most of whom have already finished their 6 months training, graduated and have been sent to various parts of South Africa to spread the good news of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ. We are honoured to have been part of this initiative and to be in accord with the spreading of the Word of our Lord.
The review does look at all the highlights for 2011, but we have sought to summarise some of the key events between our first and second business conferences. We will deal in detail with most of the reports and activities that took place during the past year. We sincerely hope that you will enjoy reading this annual report which we present to you. I wish to thank my colleagues on the Board of Global Business Roundtable, members of GBR, Trustees of the Global Fund for Christ, all chairpersons and Heads of Departments of GBR for their immense contribution towards this annual report and GBR's growth and development.