Session Topics

Investor and Entrepreneur Forum & Immersive Workshop (Invitation Only)

Wednesday, March 22, 4:25 PM - 5:35 PM PST

Session Description

Fundraising is one of the biggest challenges in an entrepreneurial journey. It is well known that African and Diasporan entrepreneurs face even bigger fundraising hurdles vs. their peers. In our interactive session, we will learn from entrepreneurs from the 2022 Builders of Africa’s Future and Accelerating Black Leadership and Entrepreneurship (ABLE) on how they have successfully overcome these hurdles. We invite entrepreneurs, foundations, venture capitalists, and investors to share best practices with the goal of improving the overall success rate of entrepreneurs in our community.

Fireside Chat: Changemakers: Catholic Sisters on the Continent

Wednesday, March 22, 5:35 PM - 6:05 PM PST

Session Description

Religious and faith-based institutions have been pivotal to poverty alleviation efforts in Africa. Catholic Sisters are often the first point of contact for community members in need of support. In 2021, African Diaspora Network launched the Start Your Social Enterprise initiative to help accelerate the entrepreneurial skills of Catholic Sisters who are connected to underserved communities facing poverty and other challenges across the Continent. How have Sisters transformed their charity models into sustainable social enterprises? What challenges and opportunities do they experience as grassroots entrepreneurs? What impact do these Builders of Africa’s Future make in their local communities? Learn more about these humble yet impactful movements led by faith-driven changemakers.

Blueprints for Africa: Diaspora Engagement and Beyond Remittances

Thursday, March 23, 10:55 AM - 12:10 PM PST

Session Description

What comprises a future-ready Africa? In 2013, the African Union conceived of Agenda 2063 as a plan for the development trajectory of Africa over 50 years. This session examines progress made within existing blueprints that guide Africa’s future and diaspora engagement strategies critical to their realization.

  • What does the progression and implementation of AU Agenda 2063 look like in its first ten years?
  • What aspirations are on track and what adaptations have been made since the pandemic?
  • What is the role of the diaspora in innovating and supporting sustainable economic development and COVID-recovery on the continent?
This panel builds upon African Diaspora Network’s nationwide knowledge-sharing series on diaspora engagement. In December 2022, ADN and the U.S. Department of State partnered to host a high-level working lunch on “Beyond Remittances” as a part of the U.S. Africa Leaders Summit in Washington, D.C. ADN also partnered with the the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and the African Union Commission to host the United States General Assembly Side Event, “Innovative approaches to integrate the diaspora in accelerating Africa’s economic recovery post COVID-19,” in New York City in September 2022. This robust dialogue continues in Silicon Valley to kick off the eighth annual African Diaspora Investment Symposium.

Interswitch: Creating an Innovative Payment Ecosystem in Africa for the Diaspora

Thursday, March 23, 12:25 PM - 1:35 PM PST

Location: Lovelace Room, second floor, Computer History Museum

Session Description

What challenges do Africans from the Diaspora face when sending remittances? What opportunities are there to improve payment systems through technology and innovation? How do we create a payment ecosystem that helps commerce evolve, businesses grow, and individuals thrive? This side event, hosted by Interswitch, provides an interactive forum for learning about and discussing the future of remittances on the continent. Learn more about payment solutions that push the boundaries of innovation. This session is led by Chris Folayan, Head of International Growth, Interswitch

Strengthening Healthcare Infrastructure & Systems in Africa

Thursday, March 23, 1:45 PM - 3:00 PM PST

Session Description

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic underscores the fragility and inequities of Africa’s healthcare infrastructure. According to the African Development Bank’s Strategy for Quality Health Infrastructure in Africa (2021), only half of the primary healthcare facilities in sub-Saharan Africa have access to clean water and adequate sanitation. The World Economic Forum notes that less than 10% of 1.2 billion people in Africa have been vaccinated compared to 50% of other countries. This historic public health crisis has infused urgency and built momentum in strengthening health systems in Africa.

  • What would comprise a new public health order to improve healthcare infrastructure and institutions in Africa?
  • How can the continent overcome longstanding challenges and inefficiencies, including the brain drain, gaps in legislation and implementation, and a lack of coordination in healthcare development?
  • What role can governments, NGOs, corporations, and multilateral agencies play in providing and stewarding resources to help communities affected by COVID-19 and prepare for future health threats?
This session explores innovative and practical approaches to shaping the future of health and healthcare in Africa.

Planting Seeds for the Future: Climate Change, Agriculture, and Food Security

Thursday, March 23, 3:30 PM - 4:45 PM PST

Session Description

In 2015, all 54 African countries signed the Paris Agreement to mark their commitment to global climate change actions and have been actively strategizing a path forward, including through the Agenda 2063 vision. Climate change is a leading priority for Africa, with impacts on agriculture and food security across the continent. Other factors, including the worsening food security crisis sparked by the COVID-19 pandemic and catalyzed by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, continue to pose challenges for families and communities as they endure shortages and a lack of affordable food access.

  • How are African nations unifying their efforts against climate change?
  • What policies, finance mechanisms, and innovations are being implemented to strengthen agriculture, food systems, and trade flows?
  • How are governments, NGOs, corporations, multilateral agencies, and entrepreneurs driving innovative approaches to preserving the most vulnerable regions and feeding communities in Africa? 
This session investigates the ongoing climate change resilience efforts across the continent and what seeds can be planted to ensure sustainable agriculture and a food-secure future.

Designing Education and Workforce Development for Africa’s Future

Friday, March 24, 10:30 AM - 11:45 AM PST

Session Description

Amid Africa’s population boom comes a rising need for quality education for youth. According to the state of Global Learning Poverty (2022), 80% of 10-year old children in Western and Central Africa are unable to read and understand simple text. More than 32 million children are out of school, the largest on record compared to regions worldwide.
How can we reimagine education in Africa? This session focuses on understanding new perspectives and research on innovations in teaching, learning, and infrastructure that help youth build a thriving future for Africa and themselves.
  • What are examples of effective educational models and policies supporting youth in Africa?
  • What role do communities play in creating an ecosystem for both formal and informal learning?
  • What is the role and value of digital learning platforms for African communities? 
  • What skills training, tertiary education, and industry preparation will be needed as individuals pursue various trades and career paths?

The Digital Transformation: Securing Africa’s Future in the Global Economy

Friday, March 24, 1:30 PM - 2:45 PM PST

Session Description

The future of Africa hinges upon the digital transformation, with myriad technologies awakening possibilities ranging from the rise of popular fintech platforms to medical recording keeping to remote work. However, catalytic digitization has outpaced digital security. In 2017, African economies lost over $3.5 billion through cyberattacks. How does the continent balance digitization for growth, development, and innovation while managing the risks?

In an era of increased digital connectivity in all areas of industry, trust, security, and access become key priorities. This becomes especially pertinent with the realization of the African Continental Free Trade Area that can revolutionize intra-African trade. This session explores ways that Africa can transform as a result of an increasingly digitized world and rise as a leader in the global economy.
  • How can digitization help integrate and connect regions in Africa?
  • What is needed to improve digital infrastructure across the continent in both urban and rural areas?
  • How do we reduce inequity and build systems for economic resiliency?

ESG and Sustainable Investment in Africa

Friday, March 24, 3:15 PM - 4:30 PM PST

Session Description

Sustainable investment strategies, namely environmental, social, and governance (ESG) have been trending across Africa and globally. The Global Sustainable Investment Alliance notes that these investments have increased by 34% in five major global markets over two years to be over $39 trillion. Increasingly, investors have integrated social impact among their criteria as they prioritize positive outcomes along with favorable financial outcomes.

Africa has the opportunity to optimize the rise of green investments. Despite the risks posed by climate change and an uncertain economy, the African private equity sector has long been part of the ESG integration – 80% of investee African companies met ESG criteria in 2017. This session explores opportunities for growth in sustainable investment and development in Africa.

  • How can Africa rise as the premier destination for ESG and sustainable investment?
  • How will the shift toward ESG investment affect markets in Africa?
  • What is the role of development finance institutions, multilateral agencies, and government in facilitating investment and infrastructure financing?