The London School of Economics (LSE) is raising Africa’s profile in a big way this March with their Africa Summit being held from 31st March to 1st April 2017. The two-day summit, which occurs annually, showcases Africa’s contributions to the world.

The Summit provides a platform to engage and explore cutting edge research and business trends across Africa’s rapidly changing socio-economic environment.

For the fourth year running, the conference always provides speakers with an encompassing knowledge on Africa and the ever changing tides on the continent. These include heads of states, senior government officials, leading entrepreneurs, and researchers from across Africa and its diaspora. For the 2017 edition, keynote speakers presenting their ideas will include great minds such as Anas Aremeyaw Anas, Isabel Dos Santos, Ibukun Awosika, and many more.

The Summit will be running on the theme “Built for Africa: African Solutions to African Issues”. Under this theme several issues on the continent will be addressed. These include education, finance, service industry and philanthropy.

Education in Africa has always been a hit and miss with the common irony for most pupils being their attendance in learning institutions but with nothing to show for it. Out of the 61 million children of primary school going age who are still out of school across the world, 31 million of them (more than 50%) are found in  Sub-Saharan Africa. Even though several steps have been taken to improve this situation, much more needs to be done.

Read more about the viability of African education

Regarding the service industry in Africa, it is slowly picking up speed. It may just be the answer to unlocking a large sector of Africa’s potential. The services economy in Africa is a vital source of income and employment. In some countries, as much as two thirds of the workforce is engaged in services. Overall, the services sector in Africa accounted for one third of formal employment between 2009 and 2012. The industry will be key in tapping into lots of other industries such as trade, development and the exploitation of our abundant natural resources.

Read more bout Improving Africa’s service economy

Philanthropy in Africa has always been a disputed area. In Africa, the act of philanthropy is widely practiced mainly as a means of alleviating some of the regions development challenges. Although colonialism is dead, continued reliance on money from abroad consistently weakens the continents’ ability to set their own priorities and policies for development. Therefore, a clean line must be drawn to map out the future of philanthropy on the continent with the view of enriching in the long term.

Africa is a continent marred by corruption. From public to private institutions, none is left untouched. Several billions of tax-payers’ money and donor money have ended up enriching individuals rather than building the continent. New structures must be put in place to leash this phenomenon from holding the continent back.

The conference will be divided into two parts. The first is the research conference which will take place on the first day of the Summit (31st March).  The conference will bring together top-tier researchers from around the world and high-level policymakers to advance dialogue on developmental issues like education, law and the informal economy. For the first time this year, the Summit will also be hosting a training workshop by the Berkeley Initiative for Transparency in the Social Sciences.

The business conference, held on the 1st of April, seeks to expand inclusive solutions as a way to reshape Africa’s poor development trajectory. With panels debating issues on finance, trade and philanthropy, the conference will explore both outsourced and homegrown ideas that are developed with, for and to a large extent, by Africans.

The LSE Summit for Africa also runs a blog provides expert analysis and debate on African issues and Africa’s place in the world. The blog also showcases research produced by LSE academics.

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