The annual London School of Economics Africa Summit took place this year from the 31st of March to the 1st of April 2017.
The two-day summit theme was: “Built for Africa: African Solutions to African Issues”
Some of the keynote speakers included Professor Mohammed Kah (Gambia), Mrs Isabel Santos (Angola) and Anas Aremeyaw Anas (Ghana).
Day 1: Research Conference
Anas Aremeyaw Anas the undercover famous Ghanaian journalist, not only left the audience shocked at the criminal acts committed by our African institutions and bureaucrats that he displayed. However, he also left us inspired and motivated to advocate the importance of adequate law and enforcement in Africa. Anas Aremayaw Anas’s keynote presentation was one of the many highlights of the research day. He insisted on the fact that ‘We need solutions that are defined by our people (Africans) not Westerners. The challenge is all of us as people’ – Anas Aremeyaw Anas.
Western policies don’t usually work effectively on African nations and so Anas Proposes that we adopt solutions that are designed by us and for us. Of course, it’s not as simple as it sounds because in some cases this would mean the reconstruction of government policies or the eradication of the type of government all together. Anas, also pointed out that the diaspora play an important part to Africa’s because they have the benefit of hindsight and can assess from afar. This leads me on to Professor Mohammed Kah of The Gambia.
Professor Kah, is one of Africa’s eminent scholars on information technology and development. He shared with us his story as a diaspora and why he moved back to Africa after studying in the United States even thugh many laughed at the idea of him going back to Africa back then. “The diaspora must not wait to be called upon” he said. The journey back isn’t easy but if the diaspora joins forces together and attend events like #LSE Africa for more insight, change will come much sooner than later.
Day 2: Business Conference
This day had far more students and participants than the first day and that was no surprise as everyone was anxiously waiting to hear Ms Isbael Dos Santos speak. Nevertheless, year after year everyone turns up in numbers to listen to the advice of experts about business in Africa.
Sylvia Mulinge, is the General Manager for the Enterprise Business Unit at Safaricom, one of the leading integrated communications companies in Africa. On the panel ‘Improving Africa’s Service Economy’ following a question on the strength of institutions, Sylvia responded that ‘we cannot have strong institutions in weak societies ‘. The auditorium couldn’t agree more; she went on to explain that politics will always have an integral effect on business in Africa. Governments interests and policies are very important to not overlook when looking to build and invest in Africa. We had a conversation with her
Mrs Isabel Dos Santos was the closing keynote speaker for the business conference. Mrs Dos Santos is a billionaire, daughter of Angola’s president and head of the country’s state oil company. The auditorium was packed with no single seat left for spare when it was time for Isabel’s Keynote speech. It seemed most people who turned up for her speech were far more interested in how Isabel acquired her wealth. Aware of that, she mentioned that ‘It’s always very difficult to be privileged because privilege always come with prejudice’. She then explained that she worked very hard to acquire her wealth and achievements and the assumptions that people make don’t phase her.
In summary, #LSEAfrica provided a platform to engage and explore research and business trends across Africa. The summit developed comprehensive answers for the issues the landmass Africa faces. The summit also concentrated on both insourced and outsourced thoughts that are created with, for and to a huge degree, by Africans.