African Diaspora Investment Symposium 2021
Leapfrogging Africa: Healthcare, Education, Connectivity, and Finance
Wednesday, September 23, 8:00 AM PST, 3:00 PM GMT


The Africa Tech Infrastructure: How Can Technology Transform African Economy?

COVID-19 continues to negatively impact lives and livelihoods in Africa and around the world. It also has revealed the importance of technological connectivity, as people from around the world pivoted to utilizing the Internet to do their daily work from schooling to running their businesses. Should Africa be leapfrogging or disrupting in terms of harnessing technology? Why is it so important to be deliberate as we move forward stronger, particularly in Africa? How has COVID dislocated and amplified inequalities?

MODERATOR: Éliane Ubalijoro, Deputy Executive Director for Programs at Global Open Data in Agriculture and Nutrition (GODAN)

Philip Thigo, Senior Director for Africa Thunderbird School of Global Management


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.


Thomas Debass, Managing Director, Office of Global Partnerships (GP), U.S. Department of State


Amrote Abdella, Regional Director, Microsoft 4Afrika Initiative

Joseph Nsengimana, Director, Mastercard Foundation Centre for Innovative Teaching and Learning in ICT

Nivi Sharma, COO of BRCK (, the onramp for frontier market internet users