African Diaspora Investment Symposium 2017 Sessions Details January 27-28, 2017

Friday, January 27 – Morning Sessions: Getting Up to Speed on Africa

Africa’s Growing Startup Ecosystem

TED Talk-style: Through 12-15 minute conversations with various entrepreneurs and investors active on the African continent, we will explore the startup ecosystems of Africa. This session will showcase Africa’s thriving startup landscape through the lens of entrepreneurs, investors and other promoters. If you want to know how Savanah Valley compares to Silicon Valley, this session is for you.

Investment Channels and Vehicles for the Diaspora and Friends of Africa

Panel Discussion: This panel of distinguished investors and intermediaries will present current and new initiatives that are making it easier than ever for investors and mentors to support Africa’s hottest ventures. We will discuss the opportunities that new web and mobile investment platforms are availing to Diaspora and foreign investors. 


Friday, January 27 – Afternoon Sessions: Key Trends

Women Entrepreneurs in Africa

Panel Discussion: Across Africa and around the world, women entrepreneurs are innovating and initiating lasting solutions to challenges on the continent. This panel of women entrepreneurs in Africa and their development promoters will discuss the defining roles that they are playing in Africa. Panelists will discuss the macro trends of hot sectors as well as innovative solutions that are unlocking new markets and increasing productivity.

Breakout Sessions – Choose one:

1. FinTech and the Democratization of Financial Services

Africa is a cash-based continent, but that is quickly changing with the unstoppable rise of Fintech. Experts estimate that over 33% of mainstream financial service revenues are at risk due to disruption in the industry from Fintech. Beyond competing with incumbent players, Fintech is also opening new markets with innovative products that meet the needs of historically unbanked Africans. These products, and more, will be discussed in this panel.

2. Powering Africa: Current and Prospective Solutions

Africa has 16% of the world’s population, but only uses 3% of the world’s power, however, this is rapidly changing through increased funding and new technologies. Over $800 billion of private and public investment over the next 25 years is expected to take Africa from 35% to 80% electrification. This dialogue with industry experts and business leaders will examine the technologies, innovative business models and funding resources that are transforming Africa’s energy landscape.

Breakout Sessions – Choose one:

1. Beyond VCs: Early Stage Funding for Startups

Having a hard time attracting traditional venture investors? This diverse panel will introduce and discuss other stakeholders that support and fund entrepreneurs across Africa. Among others, this panel will examine opportunities and challenges stemming from corporate and foundation programs, as well as governmental and non-governmental initiatives.

2. Franchising: A Proven Option for Scale

Are you an entrepreneur and great manager ready to support the growth of an established brand in Africa? This panel will explore the pros and cons of franchising, where the product and business model already are proven. Become aware of critical considerations — how accountability for risks, rewards, employee training and R&D must be transparent and shared fairly between the franchiser and franchisee. 


Saturday, January 28 – Morning Sessions: ADIS tracks

Breakout Sessions – Choose one:

1.Investor Track: Exploring investment opportunities in less known African markets

Town Hall Meeting: Africa is 54 independent and diverse countries with different economic opportunities and risks. But have you heard about the economic renewal that is occurring outside of Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, Ethiopia? In this session we will challenge the embassies of select African countries to share with us the unique opportunities their economies offer; including special programs that are aimed at promoting investment.

2.Entrepreneur Track: Finding reliable and actionable market data

Discussion Panel: he lack of reliable data, or just data for that matter, has been a real handicap for business leaders pursuing opportunities on the continent. This hindrance is pervasive across all business functions, limiting productivity at best, and preventing investments more often than otherwise. The experts and entrepreneurs on this panel will discuss new products and services through which reliable and actionable data is made available to private and public leaders invested in Africa.

What Africa’s Diaspora & Friends Can Do:

Fast Pitches: In 2-3 mins pitches, participants will share notable for-profit as well as nonprofit ventures and projects they are working on. 


Saturday, January 28 – Afternoon Sessions: Taking Actions

Breakout Sessions – Choose one:

1.Investors Track: Closing your First African Deal

Workshop: You are sold by the opportunities Africa offers to investors. You are even eager to join the wave of early investors before the market becomes more competitive and prospects of high, risk-adjusted returns dissipate. Whether you are an experienced or new investor, this workshop will guide you through proven steps you can take to close your first African deal as well as common pitfalls to avoid.

2. Entrepreneurs Track: Imagining Transformative Educational Solutions: Design Thinking Group Session:

By 2030, a quarter of the world’s youth population aged 15-24 will live in Africa. With levels of unemployment routinely exceeding 50% for this age group in many African countries, what are the educational interventions that are needed and that can be effective in preparing this population for productive 21st century employment at living wages? What are the possibilities for local entrepreneurs, educators, and academic institutions? How do they use innovative thinking techniques to quickly and cost-effectively evaluate their solutions’ merits in terms of success and scale? Join us to learn how to build transformative, actionable solutions.

What Africa’s Diaspora & Friends Can Do: Lesson from Successful Diaspora groups.

TED Talk-style: Through other groups and communities, we will seek to learn how Africans in the diaspora, and others invested in the social and economic development of Africa, can galvanize and organize ourselves for the greater impact.