The session What's Next for Africa led participants to analzye and reflect on the myths and realities of capital investment abroad in Africa, as well as projects of entrepreneurship and innovation. International investors and African entrepreneurs served on the panel discussion.
The start of the session kicked off by discussing the various financing mechanisms in Africa. The speakers discussed gaps in financing forms in Africa, as there are no clear paths to financing stages, as there are in Europe and the United States. Byron Sitawa, co-founder of Chura, said there was a lack of information and resources when he began his venture, and for example, said to boost his project he relied heavily on his family and friends.
Another key focus of the panel was about investment in Africa. Panelists discussed ways that investing can be a way to pass across country borders and halt the African diaspora to other parts of the world, especially Europe. They noted that Nigeria is a lead example of a country with investment, and that has developed an important culture of entrepreneurship. Because it is difficult to network between countries based on politics, religious differences, military difficulties, and other factors, that it is sometimes difficult to think of investing in terms of regions, but typically in individual countries that provide the best conditions to do so.
The above reflection on investment by region, led the discussion to the topic of innovation ecosystem in Africa. Panelists said the ecosystem of innovation is a buzzword, because in Africa cannot speak as one, for there is no joint work, no interconnections, and it is very difficult to work for its cohesion. One of the speakers insisted that rather than talking about ecosystem, the important thing is to support personal initiatives, specific projects that are measured by their specific weight and not in relation to others.
The conclusion of the panel was marked by a realistic and hopeful projection. Panelists said that cases of actual entrepreneurship in Africa mark an important inroad to further strengthening a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship.