In recent years, there has been a growing interest in Africa’s development, with many individuals and organizations discussing ways to help the continent. However, as Amlaz Negash, founder of the African Diaspora Network, points out, these discussions often lack the voices, ideas, and financial backing of Africans themselves. This is why events such as the African Diaspora Investment Symposium (ADIS) are so important.
The eighth annual ADIS, held on March 22-23 at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California, brought together diaspora leaders, entrepreneurs, and investors to explore ways to leverage technology and other advancements to promote investment and development in Africa. With its theme of “Future Ready Africa,” the symposium addressed pressing issues such as strengthening healthcare infrastructure, designing education and workforce development strategies, and securing Africa’s position in the global economy through digital transformation. The symposium inspires attendees to become change agents and active participants in Africa’s development while focusing on key issues and opportunities for the continent and the diaspora.
One of the key issues discussed at the symposium was ESG and Sustainable Investment in Africa, and how the continent can become a premier destination for such investment. Another important topic was digital transformation and the need to secure Africa’s future in the global economy, given that African economies lost over $3.5 billion to cyberattacks in 2017. Other topics included strengthening healthcare infrastructure and systems and designing education and workforce development for Africa’s future.
Over the past eight years, ADIS has established itself as a premier platform for exploring critical issues related to African development, drawing participants from 80 nations and fostering collaboration to promote progress in Africa and its diaspora communities. This year’s event included a range of networking sessions, panels featuring entrepreneurs from various nations, and immersive workshops designed to provide attendees with valuable insights and learning opportunities.
One significant highlight of the symposium was the Barka Award and the Luminaire Awards. The Barka Award honors notable individuals for their distinguished contributions to the African and African diaspora community, while the African Diaspora Luminaire Awards recognize distinguished Africans and diasporans who have made significant contributions to society and shown dedication to the advancement of the African continent. These awards were presented to outstanding individuals who have made a significant impact on Africa’s development.
The symposium also featured religious and faith-based panels, recognizing the potential impact of religion on Africa’s future. According to Ludovic Lado, Center of Research and Action for Peace, religious violence is increasing on the continent and is going to become one of the major sources of instability in the future.
In addition to promoting collaboration and exploring critical issues related to African development, the African Diaspora Network launched the Start Your Social Enterprise initiative in 2021, aimed at accelerating the entrepreneurial skills of Catholic Sisters connected to underserved communities facing poverty and other challenges across the continent.
Events like the ADIS are essential for addressing the challenges facing Africa and developing innovative solutions that leverage technology and other advancements. They are a pathway to Africa’s development, and the African and diaspora community must continue to support initiatives that promote collaboration and progress on the continent. By bringing together diaspora leaders, entrepreneurs, and investors, the symposium helps to advance the meaningful engagement of the diaspora beyond remittances and to promote progress in Africa and its diaspora communities.
Written by: Karesha Graham
Editor: Omitogun Abolaji