Creating a Platform for Africa’s Young Leaders
In this year’s edition of the Africa Shared Value Leadership Summit (ASVLS), once again highlighted the participation of young leaders in the main programme – demonstrating our belief on the importance of inclusion of startups on important discussions such as those that took place over these days at Kigali Convention Centre.
Since inception, the Shared Value Africa Initiative (SVAI) has continued to advocate not just to for the adoption of Shared Value as a powerful took for organisations to advance and achieve the SDGs but also, in our work across Africa, acknowledging the importance of incorporating young leaders and entrepreneurs in this narrative.
With Africa having the world’s youngest and fastest-growing population, it is important to facilitate opportunities for Africa’s entrepreneurs – particularly women – to build sustainable businesses that will contribute to driving social and economic impact on the continent.
Most of the Africa Council of 8 collective and other entrepreneurs who were present at the Summit and were participating as hosts and ambassadors of the SVAI – at events, the Shared Value Lounge, and of course, throughout the venue. They were able to also benefit from networking opportunities afforded to them by a gathering of this magnitude.
ASVLS benefited from voices of these influencers as well in their participation on panels as moderators and panelists: Chibunna Ogbonna on Climate Justice & the Importance of Climate Finance as well as Digital Infrastructure; Andrews Akoto-Addo on Digital Infrastructure; Talifhani Mamafha on Realising the Potential of 4IR and Cross-Border Trade & its Potential for Young Businesses on MWC Africa’s Better Future Stage.
Said Andrews, a member of the Africa Council of 8 of being in discussion with various thought leaders: “It was yet another great honour and privilege to lead a conversation with industry giants.”
Another Council member, Chibunna, who stepped up to the challenge and moderated a session at the last minute: “I am grateful for the opportunity to moderate the Climate Justice and Climate Finance panel… Mberede ka eji ama dike [You know who a brave man is when he is confronted with unforeseen challenges].”
As part of the MWC Africa partnership, SVAI was able to participate in the Better Future stage – a specially designed platform by MWC Africa to profile startups, young innovators and tackle topics relating to them and their journey.
On this we were able to discuss Cross-Border Trade & its Potential for Young Businesses, moderated by Talifhani, to discuss challenges faced by entrepreneurs who want to trade across borders – as well as, a solution currently in development by SVAI: JamiiTrade, a digital community for information and connecting for cross-border trade.
Africa’s youth dividend is important to the transformation on the continent, but in order to gain dividends, one must first invest – this was the sentiment among the discussants during panel discussion titled Africa’s Youth Dividend Can Shape the Global Future also on the Better Future Stage.
This panel provided closing inspiration for all to consider the challenging journey of the entrepreneur, and the power they have to significantly contribute to Africa’s economy and shaping the global future – but it takes a multi-sectoral ecosystem to effectively help them reach that potential.
SVAI remains a proud supporter of young leaders and entrepreneurs on the continent, and continues to challenge more organisations to do the same as that is how we can help them not just survive but thrive.