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How Africa’s next generation can solve world’s most pressing challenges

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By Isaac OGANGA

African decision makers, investors and innovators gathered recently in Cape Town, South Africa to reimagine what needs to be done for the future of Africa in a 2-day Summit hosted by AFG (Africa Foresight Group), the tech talent platform with the largest network of freelance consultants in Africa.

Now in its fourth annual instalment, this year’s Africa@Scale event pushed the envelope on the future positioning of Africa, how Africa’s next generation could solve the world’s most pressing challenges, and championed an introspection on pre-colonial African heritage.

The event themed ‘Reconstructing the Future,’ had in attendance CEOs, investors and thought leaders across technology, agriculture and healthcare, including venture capitalists and government representatives.

Some of these included Kuseni Dlamini, one of Africa’s most experienced and respected business leaders, who chairs two JSE-listed companies Aspen Pharmacare and Massmart Holdings Limited; investors and platform builders like Zachary George, Managing Partner of Launch Africa; Ibrahim Sagna, Chairman of Silverbacks Holdings; and emerging voices of the future, such as Kenya’s 32-year old Senator, Eddy Oketch. Previous years’ events at Oxford University (UK) and Accra (Ghana) included titans of African business such as Aliko Dangote and Salma Okonkowo.

Yasmin Kumi, Founder and CEO of AFG, observed that this year’s Africa@Scale “underscored the importance of physically getting-together – after the isolation forced by the Covid 19 pandemic – to exchange experiences and create the ideas and models that will turbo-charge African companies and African development.

Although history filled the rooms and halls of this year’s venue at Mount Nelson, the discussion focused on how to deploy Africa’s under-utilised resources and talents to exponentially build global brands. Africa@Scale was created to be an open forum for African leaders to form strong partnerships and exchange holistic actionable ideas for the long term growth of the continent and I believe we achieved that at this year’s summit.”

A highlight of this year’s summit included forward looking workshops with Jaco Maritz, Founder of ‘How we made it in Africa;’ Justin Norman of The Flip Africa; Sophie Masipa, CEO, MwunganoESG; author-editor Kojo Baffoe; and renown nation-branding guru, Thebe Ikalafeng, on how a re-imagined Africa could be feeding the world by 2040 and in the vanguard of progress globally across various sectors from education to science, technology and health.

“The ‘unconference’ approach to the gathering allowed for participant-oriented sessions and meaningful open debate,” said Ninel Musson, VP of Growth at AFG. In education, ideas were put forward to position Africa at the forefront of ‘demand learning’ internationally whilst still fostering a culture of play and wonder amongst young people. Similarly in health and wellbeing, new methods and platforms were envisaged for using digital inclusion as the driver of affordable, accessible and highly quality health care for all; and new structures and incentives were aired for stopping the brain drain of health care professionals from the continent.

Speaking at the event, Prof. Bam-Hutchison added: “The conversation on sovereignty and creating an equal society with a focus on poor young African communities should be sustained to create the future for the continent and its place in the world that we want.”

Launched in 2016, AFG is spearheading the future of freelancing through its proprietary, ML-powered tool ‘Peralta’ – a digital market network training top consulting freelancers and intelligently connecting them with businesses to accelerate growth in emerging markets. With its clients including leading African companies, investment funds and development agencies, the startup plans to create over 250,000 jobs in an estimated $175bn global market.

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