panelists | 2021
Reconstruction: Towards a Greener Future
According to the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), record greenhouse gas emissions are putting the world on a path towards catastrophic warming with deleterious implications for Africa’s development prospects.
No continent will be struck as severely by the impacts of climate change as Africa. Sub-Saharan Africa has experienced more frequent and extreme climate events over the past decades, which have been correlated with falling crop yields and increasing rates of violent conflict. The risk of drought, heatwaves, crop failures and human displacement has also been heightened.
With ninety percent of African countries having ratified the Paris Agreement, African countries are among the global front runners leading the transition toward greener and more inclusive economies. They are expected to generate sustainable economic growth, jobs, and social benefits, as well as protection of vital natural resources.
What are some current domestic initiatives pursued in the context of African countries taking a lead on climate change? Are the current green economy policies which have been put in place effective? What is the role of the developed world in aiding Africa’s adaptation to the new realities of climate change? Do the beliefs of climate justice imply that underdeveloped countries should be free to pollute to develop? This thought-provoking conversation is meant to reconcile tensions between development & environmental degradation, vulnerability & responsibility.
Africa’s Creative Industry
African culture, creations and arts have for centuries been exported to the rest of the world without always receiving the due recognition and remuneration. From arts and crafts to music, dances, literature, fashion, theatre and other creative content, Africa has contributed far more to the world cultural heritage than is commonly acknowledged. Notably however, global interest in African creative content has increased substantively in recent years, from the popularity of “Afro-beats” to sold-out African prints and high grossing Nollywood movies.
The emergence of a “creative economy” has become a leading component of economic growth, employment, trade, and innovation, promoting sustainable development in a globalizing world. Unfortunately, unprecedented events have interrupted the way creative business is conducted. While the pandemic has deeply affected the creative industry, the disruption has created unique opportunities for African creatives to leverage a wider market, both locally and internationally. With the new remote world, African creatives have had access to an array of new platforms to spread African soft power.
This special panel will explore recent trends in the development of the African creative economy. Emphasis will be put on the response of African creatives to the challenges brought forth by the pandemic. Panelists will include a mixture of creatives, entrepreneurs, cultural experts and leading investors who will discuss the current realities, obstacles, and opportunities to expand Africa’s creative industry and African “soft power” to the world.
African start-ups and alternative investments
Entrepreneurship has been a key element of developmental efforts in the continent. While the number of new enterprises has increased greatly in recent years, a considerable proportion of start-ups face considerable challenges in accessing capital.
The lack of access to capital is a prime concern for African startups and small enterprises. The inefficient flow of funds to the enterprises, coupled with the difficulty of securing early-stage loans often urge start-ups to explore alternative financing methods.
This panel examines key debates concerning the hurdles of raising capital. The discussion will explore avenues for strengthening capital markets on the continent as well as alternative financing funnels. Panelists will draw from their own expertise as businesspeople, entrepreneurs, potential investors, and industry experts to offer insight on ways of developing and strengthening financing channels on the continent.
Healthcare in Africa: Opportunities
The COVID-19 pandemic has deeply impacted the African continent. In many countries, it delivered a significant blow to the already ailing healthcare system. The current situation stresses more than ever the need for investment and development of healthcare infrastructure.
New trends in digital health and the proliferation of healthcare related technologies have stewarded a considerable number of opportunities on the continent. New platforms and applications not only facilitate the access to health services, but they also enable the efficient transfer of information which has been crucial in countering illnesses.
This panel will explore the impact of digitalization of health services and potential opportunities it brings forth. The opportunities will be analyzed in the context of reconstruction and improvement of healthcare services post-COVID-19.
The panel will include government officials, industry experts, entrepreneurs and businesspeople who will draw from their personal experience to offer insight on how these new technologies and trends can be leveraged to increase access to healthcare on the continent.