ADIS23: African Diaspora Investment Symposium converge in Silicon Valley

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ADIS23
2023 African Diaspora Investment Symposium: Future Ready Africa

African Diaspora Network (ADN) calls for Future Ready Africa 

MOUNTAIN VIEW, CALIFORNIA – Over 300 investors, entrepreneurs, and industry professionals came together at the Computer History Museum in Silicon Valley to discuss and explore investment opportunities and strategies in celebration of a Future Ready Africa. The 2023 African Diaspora Investment Symposium (ADIS) was held from March 22 to 24 and focused on how Africans, African diasporans, and friends of Africa can leverage technology and other innovations to drive investment and development in Africa.

The symposium featured a wide range of keynotes, panelists, and speakers, navigating three days of meaningful networking,  informative panel sessions, and enlightening discussions. Entrepreneurs, investors, academics, and policymakers deliberated on topics such as the potential for technology to drive economic growth in Africa, the importance of building a strong ecosystem for startups and entrepreneurs, and the role of the African diaspora in promoting investment and development in the continent.

Day one of the event included a celebration of entrepreneurship and innovation in a welcome reception followed by an investor and entrepreneur workshop with panelists from ADN’s Builders of Africa’s Future (BAF) and Accelerating Black Leadership and Entrepreneurship (ABLE) programs. One of the key themes that emerged on day two of the symposium was the need for increased investment in Africa, particularly in technology and innovation.

Through diaspora engagement that focused beyond remittances to the continent, stakeholders discussed how to strengthen healthcare systems and infrastructure in Africa through sustainable investments in the sector. 

Evelyn Dan Epelle
Africa Diaspora Network (ADN) Founder, Almaz Negash with ADIS23 Media Fellow, Evelyn Dan Epelle

“I think this time it’s different. The engagement and the depth of the conversations, I’ve never really seen anything like this, it just blows me away. Everyone seems to be networking, and the energy is another thing. This is exactly why we created the platform. We have people from all over Africa and the United States, and other places in the world. It’s a great place for people to network, get to know each other, and find ways to collaborate. I see that in the hallway a lot, and then of course inside the plenary sessions.” Almaz Negash, African Diaspora Network (ADN) Founder said of the event on March 24 while speaking with KAFTAN TV Correspondent and ADIS Media Fellow Evelyn Dan Epelle in a media chat at the end of the event. 

This year, the African Diaspora community through the symposium awarded 10 leaders with the Luminaire Award. The prestigious Barka Award went to Dr. Amadou Sall, CEO, Institut Pasteur de Dakar in Senegal and Director, WHO Collaborating Center for Arboviruses and Viral Hemorrhagic Fever for his leadership and contribution to healthcare development in Senegal and Africa. The Luminaire Awards were presented on March 24 to ten distinguished Africans and Diasporans whose high-level impact in advancing the African continent has been felt on a global scale. The Luminaires awardees were honored during a private awards dinner held on Thursday, March 23, at Santa Clara University. They include:

  1. Yohannes Assefa, Board of Directors, Ethiopia Diaspora Trust Fund;
  2. Hugh Molotsi, Investor, Founder and CEO, Ujama; 
  3. Kedest Tesfagiorgis, Deputy Director of Global Partnerships and  Grand Challenges, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; 
  4. Twum Djin, Head of Engineering, Payments Conversion at Stripe;
  5. Chike Nwoffiah, Creative Ambassador, City of San José & Founding Director, Silicon Valley African Film Festival (SVAFF);
  6. Dr. Ndeye Makalou, Head of Health Equity- Genentech Commercial, Medical, and Government Affairs at Roche Genentech; 
  7. Dr. Josephine Fubara, Chief Science Officer, Sanofi Consumer Healthcare;
  8. Abbey Omokhodion, CFO, Programmable Solutions Group at Intel Corporation; 
  9. Dr. Josh Ghaim, Founder and Managing Partner, Ignite Venture Studio and Board Chairman, African Diaspora Network (ADN);
  10. Innocent Shumba, US-West EY Private Leader and Assurance Partner, Ernst & Young; 
ADIS23
2023 African Diaspora Luminaire Awardees

On the third and final day of the event, Mary-Ivy Mbayah, Global Innovation at EY Sustainability, presented the EY Attractiveness Report, “Africa poised for a reset. Are investors forward thinking?” as the context setter for conversations on the need for education and workforce development through digital connectivity. Many speakers highlighted the importance of leveraging the skills, knowledge, and resources of the diaspora to sustainably support entrepreneurship and investment on the continent. This will include initiatives such as diaspora bonds, which allow members of the diaspora to invest in their home countries, as well as programs that provide mentorship and support to African startups and entrepreneurs.

Some speakers reiterated that Africa is home to a large and growing population of young people, who are increasingly connected to the internet and have the potential to drive economic growth through innovation and entrepreneurship. To support this growth, speakers called for greater investment in education and training, as well as the creation of an enabling environment for startups and entrepreneurs. This includes policies that encourage innovation, such as tax incentives and supportive regulatory frameworks.

Overall, the African Diaspora Investment Symposium provided a platform for thought leaders, investors, and entrepreneurs to discuss the opportunities and challenges of investing in Africa. While there are many obstacles to overcome, such as infrastructure challenges and regulatory barriers, the symposium highlighted the potential for technology and entrepreneurship to drive economic growth and development on the continent. 

 

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