Monthly Online Forums | July 2020 - February 2021

Welcome Note by Almaz Negash

Dear Friends and Colleagues,
In this challenging year, I am humbled by the incredible goodwill and support of our global community as we celebrate two major milestones: the 10th anniversary of African Diaspora Network and the sixth annual African Diaspora Investment Symposium. ADN has brought together countless individuals from all walks of life for a common cause: to uplift the continent of Africa and the communities in which we live. We are delighted to announce the launch of ADIS2021 to continue to connect our network from all parts of the world.


African Diaspora Investment Symposium (ADIS21) is the sixth annual global convening that celebrates and champions the entrepreneurial and innovative spirit of Africans, Diasporans and friends of Africa.

Hosted by African Diaspora Network, the symposium inspires participants to be agents of change and active contributors to Africa’s development and the communities we live in. The conference activates the potential of partnership, drawing over 1,300 delegates from across the globe over the last five years.


The ongoing pandemic has devastated the world and hit Africa hard. At the same time, it has forced a renewed focus on accelerating development across sectors. This focus presents an opportunity to leapforward African development, bypassing physical infrastructure that the continent has lacked for the most part of a century. We foresee acceleration across four areas: connectivity, education, healthcare, and finance. ADN intends to be at the forefront of this momentum.


Join us as we build bridges among high-level, entrepreneurial leaders and bring speakers from Africa who are innovating to find solutions to pressing issues on the ground and leading the fight against COVID-19. Engage in dialogue on the future of Africa leapfrogging via innovations, investments, and policies that accelerate the continent’s progress in health care, connectivity, education and finance.

  • To prioritize community well-being in light of the current global health crisis, ADIS21 will be a monthly virtual forum beginning in July 2020. We invite you to join us to:
  • Learn about how African countries and organizations are addressing the current COVID-19 crisis in the short-term and preparing for future pandemics
  • Gain insight on economic development trends and investment opportunities in Africa
  • Engage with leaders and organizations facilitating productive investments on the continent
  • Participate in a movement that redefines the roles of the African diaspora
  • Examine trends in innovation, entrepreneurship, and investment conditions
  • Explore how we can engage key global stakeholders in the well-being of the continent.

Theme: Leapfrogging Africa: Global Health, Connectivity, Education, and Finance

The historic COVID-19 pandemic has shifted the trajectory of the decade and remarkably shaped the priorities of the global community. As nations rise to meet the challenges and effects of the novel coronavirus, Africa stands at a unique inflection point in its history to accelerate changes that were already underway. Decades of development are anticipated to be concentrated in the next few years.

  • What role do Africans, diasporans, and friends of Africa play as collaborators and global citizens in the fight against infectious disease?
  • What programs and projects are combatting COVID-19 and infectious disease broadly that are led by Africans or Diasporans?
  • How do we most effectively channel our resources to support both the communities we live in and the African continent?
  • How do we improve access to health care, education, connectivity, and finance among the most vulnerable communities in Africa?

The sixth annual African Diaspora Investment Symposium explores the possibilities of accelerating key aspects of Africa’s infrastructure that are essential to individual, community, and national well-being.


Each session will be from 8 AM to 10 AM PST / 11 AM to 1 PM EST / 3 PM to 5 PM GMT

July 29, 2020 / Wednesday, 8:00 AM PST, 11:00 AM EST, 3:00 PM GMT

Leveraging the Private Sector: DFIs, Investment Vehicles, and Funding Responses

Investors in Africa of different types of development finance, private equity, impact investors are rising to the challenges presented by COVID-19 are rising to the challenges presented by COVID-19 to create new funds that accelerate investment for post-COVID-19. What investments will be core to advancing the response and recovery of business? What economic impact is foreseen and how will government and international funders respond? This session examines a variety of investment vehicles and how we can leverage the private sector to deliver support across Africa.
August 26, 2020 / Wednesday, 8:00 AM PST, 11:00 AM EST, 3:00 PM GMT
Africa has the opportunity to leverage its unique expertise in infectious disease, including HIV and ebola. What key lessons learned can inform global solutions? What best practices among the 54 countries are transforming systems of health care and access and delivery for communities? How can we adopt practices such as telemedicine that can positively shape systems in Africa in the midst of the 2020 global health crisis? This panel examines the intersection of human capital development and health care to address gaps in policy and infrastructure.
September 23, 2020 / Wednesday, 8:00 AM PST, 11:00 AM EST, 3:00 PM GMT

Digital Connectivity Across Africa

Digital connectivity across the continent is amplifying industry at all levels as the countries work to address the internet access gap. How is broadband cable progressing, particularly regarding inland access and delivery? How are smartphones becoming an integral part of commerce and everyday life? How can we create a system that helps innovators and entrepreneurs to quickly locate supplies and services in their area? What kind of impact the rollout of 5G could have for Africa? Are there nascent e-commerce and e-learning solutions suited for the continent? Join this session to look at key examples of digital connectivity, including drone technology, mobile technologies, and the planning of Africa’s roll-out plan of the SpaceX Starlink and the expansion of Google’s Loon project.

October 28, 2020 / Wednesday, 8:00 AM PST, 11:00 AM EST, 3:00 PM GMT

Amplify Innovation and Investment Hubs in Africa

Across the continent, several countries have taken various approaches to building strongholds of investment and innovation. Rwanda is actively planning an innovation hub, Kigali Innovation City, to transform the country into a knowledge-based economy. In West Africa, Nigeria has partnered with U.S. officials to launch a West Africa Trade and Innovation Hub.

What are some unique approaches adopted by different countries in Africa to building innovation ecosystems? What role are public-private partnerships playing in amplifying Innovation hubs in Africa? What are the most pressing challenges Africa innovation hubs are facing today? What effects is Covid 19 having on innovation ecosystems? What are some unique ways in which the African diaspora can engage in amplifying African Innovation hubs?

November 18, 2020 / Wednesday, 8:00 AM PST, 11:00 AM EST, 4:00 PM GMT

Investment in Education and Online Learning in Africa

Prior to 2020, trends across sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia demonstrate the traction of online education as a cost-effective approach to making educational opportunities more accessible. Today, remote learning has transformed into a key component of the new normal, proving that wide-scale implementation is not only possible, but necessary.

Technological innovations in Africa can drastically reduce barriers and bring millions of African students online for the first time, provided that we can overcome connectivity infrastructure challenges and hardware/material costs. There is an unprecedented opportunity for Africa to accelerate education through technology, which is why investment in the sector is a priority for Africa. The global digital economy will enable millions of young Africans to partake and contribute to the sustainability of the continent’s development.

How do we align the AU Continental Education Strategy for Africa with technological integration? What are the opportunities and challenges that the continent will need to address to systematize both in-person and remote educational opportunities? How do we ensure pedagogical continuity and the opportunity that e-learning represents in this context?

This panel seeks to explore models of online education and need for investment in catalyzing digital education to meet the immediate and long-term needs of the continent.

January 27, 2021 / Wednesday, 8:00 AM PST, 11:00 AM EST, 4:00 PM GMT

Builders of Africa’s Future 2021

Builders of Africa’s Future (BAF) is a session that celebrates innovation and impact in early stage African enterprise. BAF serves to showcase and award entrepreneurs who are running early stage for-profit and not-for-profits that are addressing Africa’s unique needs through technology or differentiated business models. These unique needs are in health, education, energy, financial inclusion, gender inclusion, nutrition, commerce, industrial development, and other socio-economic good. This session invites the 2021 awardees to share their work and accomplishments with the broader ADN community and ADIS21 participants.

February 17, 2021 / Wednesday, 8:00 AM PST, 11:00 AM EST, 4:00 PM GMT

Innovation in Payments in Africa

The digital payment space has transformed everyday lives across the continent, from the introduction of mobile phones to the adoption of digital payment systems by merchants to streamline their finance systems. How does Africa continue to develop its digital economy through innovation? What existing and new models have provided game-changing tools in various industries?

How do digital processes reduce the cost of wiring for remittances reaching individuals? How do various payment systems boost the transparency and efficiency of investments in Africa? What policies are essential for a secure finance system online?

This panel takes a deep dive into examples such as Facebook with Novi, BitPesa, Flutterwave, PayPal, and Mastercard to examine how these technological solutions will further advance economic growth.

We believe in the work and role of the African Diaspora Network (ADN) as a conduit that stimulates, empowers, and activates the diaspora, friends of Africa and young entrepreneurs to catalyze and contribute in building and transforming Africa’s development. ADN is a platform that strengthens and connects dynamic contributors to Africa’s development with a goal of accelerating social and economic transformation.
- Conrad Hilton Foundation
The U.S. African Development Foundation is honored to have participated in the African Diaspora Network’s 5th Annual African Diaspora Investment Symposium. The 3-day symposium provided USADF the chance to see old friends, make new ones and discover the many ways in which similarly aligned organizations and individuals are acting as stewards of sustainable change on the African continent. Our mission, to create pathways to prosperity for undeserved communities in Africa, is a mission embodied by #ADIS20 participants. The African Diaspora Network provides USADF the opportunity to expand on our mission and mandate to invest in Africans and their ideas. We, therefore, found ourselves in excellent company
– United States Africa Development Fund