This is a presentation I gave at the Africa Day Celebrations 2023 hosted by the Stellenbosch Business School Alumni Assocation UK Chapter.
Good afternoon distinguished ladies and gentlemen.
We are here today to celebrate Africa and highlight the great potential the continent and her people have to offer to the world. Our conversation today will explore the opportunities around investing in Africa for sustainable Leadership and development.
This month two major events occurred that have put Africa in the spotlight.
On May 22nd the Dangote Oil Refinery, an industrial masterpiece, was inaugurated in Nigeria. A $20 billion project, with a capacity of 650,000 crude oil barrels per day, making it the largest single train refinery in the world. It is expected to create 135,000 permanent jobs and will eliminate Nigeria’s dependence on the importation of refined products thus changing the economic outlook of Africa for good.
On Thursday May 11th Hilda Effiong Bassey a 27-year-old chef from Nigeria embarked on cooking journey. By Monday May 15th she had completed 100 hours non-stop cooking creating a new world record.
From the very great and well known to the very simple and obscure, these are examples of the vision, tenacity, determination and resilience Africans as a people demonstrate. Both Dangote and Hilda, did not achieve these feats alone, it was a collaborative effort.
So today, let’s have a brief conversation about how we can further support, African enterprise and innovation. In my brief message, I would like to point us in the direction of 4 areas for consideration.
No 1 - Invest in Africa’s Digital Economy
Africa is home to a growing number of digital enterprises, among which are EcoCash Zimbabwe founded by Strive Masiyiwa, Letshego, a leading mobile financial services company in Botswana, She Leads Africa, a leading social enterprise that empowers and connects African women. Other examples are Andela, Twiga Foods, Farmerline, Kobo360 just to mention a few.
By 2050, it is estimated that Africa will have the world's largest working-age population, with increasing access to technology, Africa's digital economy is projected to reach $180 billion by 2025. This presents a vast potential market for businesses looking to expand their operations.
No 2 - Support mentorship and training programs.
The explosion of technology has presented new opportunities, talent can now be physically located anywhere. By supporting mentorship and training programs across the continent, you can help to create a more skilled workforce and boost economic growth. This will give more youth the opportunity to be gainfully employed, both locally and internationally, and also equip them to start their own enterprises.
The Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator and the Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme are great examples. Between them, 100,000 African youths have been mentored into gainful employment, and $100 million has been awarded in seed capital to over 10,000 entrepreneurs.
No 3 - Invest in startups and scaleups.
Today we celebrate the African Startups that have made their mark on the global stage, but they didn’t get there alone. Flutterwave the Nigerian payments platform has raised over $474.5 million in funding from international investors. Flutterwave now operates in 34 African countries in over 150 currencies and has processed over $16 billion in payments to date.
Twiga Foods, Kenya with a turnover of $100million in 2020, continues to support the African economy reducing food waste and providing over 10,000 jobs.
No 4 - Support the Green Initiative and sustainability.
The need to go green and adopt sustainable methodologies is no longer an option, and Africa is actively playing its role. Kenya is aggressively installing solar panels and working to protect its forests, setting a target of reducing deforestation by 50% by 2030.
MoringaConnect works with smallholder farmers in Ghana to cultivate and process moringa a sustainable drought-tolerant crop that can be grown in poor soil.
The 4 areas mentioned above present opportunities for support, collaboration creative innovation and investment.
In closing, I will read the last verse of a poem by Wayne Visser © 2017
Africa calls to me
With the cry of eagles that frees my soul
And the hush of sand dunes that soothes my mind
With the call of loeries that makes me whole
And the cicadas (suh·kaa·duhz) drone that blots out time
Africa calls to me
With the crackle of fires that light her skies
And the rustle of leaves that swish her sighs
With the chant of her songs that move my feet
And the pulse of her heart that makes mine beat
Africa calls to me
Will you invest in digital economy?
Will you support the next great start up?
Will you create the next employment accelerator or entrepreneurship program?
Will you participate in the next green initiative?
Will you support the Guinness World record breaker?
Will you be part of the next industrial masterpiece?
Ladies and gentlemen – Africa calls to you.
Please feel free to like and share and always remember -
inspire, influence, and impact your world.
Written by Lady Shayo Imologome
Business Growth Strategist, Management Consultant, and Keynote Speaker
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