African Diaspora Investment Symposium 2019

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Computer History Museum

1401 North Shoreline Boulevard

Mountain View, CA 94043

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The African Diaspora Investment Symposium 2019 (ADIS2019) is the fourth annual global convening of leaders, innovators, investors, and entrepreneurs that seeks to uplift the African continent by building bridges among Africans, Diasporans, and friends of Africa. Located in Silicon Valley, the innovation and entrepreneurial capital of the world, the conference aims to inform, engage, and inspire participants to be agents of change and active contributors to Africa’s development. Visit the ADIS2019 website for more information.


Following the footsteps of entrepreneurs who have walked the path of pursuing investments and opportunities in Africa, the 2019 symposium offers two days focused on the Investment Ecosystem and Entrepreneurship & Innovation Ecosystem. How do you start? What resources do you need to open a social impact business? What resources are available in Africa, or elsewhere? Walk through the journey of seasoned professionals who share their strategies and stories.

Keynote Speakers

Each day you will have the opportunity to hear firsthand the journey of inspiring and engaging Africans and friends of Africans whose work positively impacts the lives of people on the Continent. Our speakers seek to motivate, uplift, and educate our audience with stories, challenges, and strategies from their own paths in investment, entrepreneurship, and innovation in Africa. Leave inspired to take action and energized to collaborate with colleagues throughout the symposium.

Thursday, January 24 | Amplifying the Conversation: Selected Sector Conversations & Evening Welcome Reception

African Diaspora Network kicks off ADIS2019 with focused sector conversations and an evening welcoming reception to network and celebrate its fourth annual convening. Meet with fellow participants, panelists, moderators, and keynote speakers over hor d’oeuvres, light refreshments, and live entertainment. The reception concludes with a closing awards ceremony that honors African Diaspora Network’s third annual Barka Award recipient.

Friday, January 25 | The Investment Ecosystem: Capturing Exceptional Returns in Africa

Turning Tides: Africa by Ernst & Young by James A. Newland

After twenty years of slow economic growth, Africa is experiencing an economic shift. Investment is shifting among countries, and foreign direct investment is recovering and spreading more evenly across the continent than ever before. According to EY’s 2018 Attractiveness report on Africa, “As growth across the rest of the continent accelerates, so do those markets take a greater share of inbound investment.” In what ways is Africa gaining momentum? James Newlands of global advisory firm EY will set the context for day one of the symposium with an overview on how the tides are turning across the ecosystems of investment, innovation, and entrepreneurship in Africa.

Investment Climate in Africa: Current and Future Outlook

Africa is rising steadily as the next frontier for investment, with the United States, United Kingdom, France, and China leading the way in direct investments to build an increasing number of African ventures. Global investments have driven the African economy, with varying FDIs and impact across the nation’s countries. What kinds of investments are being made and which countries are benefiting? How do we create inclusive and sustainable growth across the continent? Seasoned investment experts and researchers will provide an economic overview of financial growth and a region by region review of FDIs by source, destination and sector.

Silicon Valley Venture Capital and Africa — Connecting and Engaging the VC Community to Africa

Not all SMEs are alike among them, venture capital in Africa holds the highest potential of generating robust growth in revenue and jobs on the continent. According to Partech Ventures, the VC funding raised by African startups reached $367 million in 2016, with 33% yearly growth. This session addresses the ecosystem’s knowledge gap around VCs in Africa and case examples of opportunities. Taking an opportunities-over-obstacles approach, hear from leading experts on their investment decision-making, venture-building strategies, and results that led them to take the VC path in Africa.

Fireside Chat: On the Purpose of Capital with Jed Emerson

The challenge of defining the true purpose of capital has been with us since the start of modern financial capitalism in 1604, but the roots of our exploration of meaning and purpose go back to the origins of humanity. How did we come to separate our understanding of economic/financial value from social/environmental value? How have we come to think of ourselves as separate from our neighbors, community, and planet? Jed Emerson of Blended Value will explore these two central questions through a fireside chat that investigates the challenge of defining the true purpose of capital since the start of modern financial capitalism in 1604.

Diaspora Impact Investment & Social Entrepreneurship

Africa’s economic growth is unleashing the creativity of entrepreneurs across the continent. These entrepreneurs are inventing novel solutions to address big unsolved problems in their local markets. Unfortunately, the biggest problem they face is the lack of working capital to bring those solutions to scale. This session will share how to tap into the abundant financial resources that are available and how to attract impact investors to your social enterprise.

Human Capital Investment: Activating the Potential of Africa 2050

By 2050, Africa is expected to experience a demographic doubling in population to reach a landmark 1 billion. This profound shift has the potential to amplify abundance. In honor of the 50th anniversary of the African Union, African leaders established Agenda 2063 to plan for prosperity, shared growth, and economic opportunity for all. How can the Continent harness human capital to achieve and activate the potential of its growing population? This session highlights investment opportunities that pave a foundation for skills development, education, mentoring, and employment training. Learn about the United Nations’ major Impact Investment Collaborative in Africa and investment opportunities that foster African talent and ingenuity for a competitive and inclusive marketplace.

Amplifying Women Leaders’ Impact: How the next generation of women can use positions to positively impact conditions for women in the world

A record number of participants attended the ADIS2018 session titled “Dialogue & Action with Women Entrepreneurs and Investors.” The session provided learnings on how women are leading the charge in innovation and investment to transform African Economy. Current trends indicate that more women occupy leadership positions. For example,

  • Ethiopia's parliament has elected the country's first female president, Sahle-Work Zewde

  • Rwanda has the highest representation of women in parliament in the world

  • The past few years have seen a rise in the number of women-owned businesses in Africa. Be it in IT, oil, mining, or in the aviation sector; female entrepreneurs are breaking gender stereotypes.

ADIS2019’s Amplifying Women Leaders Impact session will convene women leaders in Silicon Valley, the African Diaspora, and the Continent to discuss how women can use their POWER to make a positive impact to create a more sustainable and equitable world. Their impact can prepare the next generation of women leaders to lead effectively and transform their communities.

Reflection & Action

Immerse in deep discussions with fellow participants after the panel sessions to redefine and reimagine impact in Africa. Convene with panelists and speakers to ask questions and continue conversations on the burgeoning investment ecosystem in Africa. How do you plan to take action? Network and spark collaborations through group ideation and potential partnerships.

Free Time to Explore Silicon Valley

Explore the heart of Silicon Valley and embark upon an evening of sight-seeing with fellow ADIS participants. Tour the local area, enjoy dinner at the restaurants along Castro Steet in Mountain View, or take public transportation to go sightseeing in neighboring cities like San Francisco or San Jose.

Saturday, January 26 | The Entrepreneurship & Innovation Ecosystem: Energizing Collaboration for the Future

Integrated & Sustainable Development in Africa: Partnership for Goals

The UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development outlines seventeen sustainable development goals. As a launchpad for action, Development Goal 17: Partnership for Goals seeks to “strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize global partnership for sustainable development.” What integrated approaches have been most effective in uplifting Africa toward a new model of sustainability? Intersectional goals such as poverty reduction, environmental sustainability, and job generation require a multi-faceted approach made possible through cross-sector collaboration. Delve into the current work and steps that policymakers, innovators, and entrepreneurs have taken to work toward integrated economic, social, and environmental sustainability in Africa.

Building a Foundation for Quality of Life: Health Care & Education

Health care and education are key determinants of individual wellness as well as a nation’s overall economic health and sustainability. Achieving Agenda 2063 requires development that is people-driven, particularly among women and youth. How do we achieve a high standard of living and quality of life that drives well-being? This session provides an overview of how health care and education have the potential to transform African economies and set a foundation for an educated and skilled citizenry that builds prosperity and eradicates poverty.

Transforming the Landscape of Africa through Energy & Agriculture

How have energy and agriculture transformed the landscape of Africa and shifted the economy toward new innovations and opportunities? Learn about paygo energy in Africa as well as new trends in agricultural investments driven by private equity firms. Case examples include new irrigation systems and processing plants that create a ripple effect in local job opportunities and increased sustainability in the region.

East Africa: Amplifying Innovation – Investment – Entrepreneurship

According to the World Bank, the average GDP for the East African region increased by about 5.9 percent in 2017, with Ethiopia leading the growth by 8 percent followed by Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda. These countries are enjoying growth as a result of strong local private consumption, investment in infrastructure, and manufacturing. Additionally, the region stands as a leader in disruptive Fintech, with mobile money led by Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda. Yet, in many of the 13 East African Countries, poverty, inequality, and political uncertainty continues. This session will address two specific questions:

  • How can we sustain East African economic growth as we look forward to 2050?

  • What role can the diaspora play (or is playing) in human capital investment, innovation, and entrepreneurship to ensure sustainability?

The Intersection of Energy & Fintech Workshop

Fintech has emerged as a leading driver of advancing innovation in Africa, with a huge volume of digital currency and blockchain initiatives building across the Continent. According to Exploring the African Fintech Startup Ecosystem Report 2017, Africa is home to more than 300 fintech startups active in over 20 countries, with tremendous growth since 2015. During this workshop, we will explore how fintech can transform the African economy by banking the unbanked and by leapfrogging and disrupting inefficient systems.

Builders of Africa’s Future

The second Builders of Africa’s Future Awards serves to showcase and award entrepreneurs who are running early-stage for-profit and not-for-profits that are addressing Africa’s unique needs through technology or differentiated business models. These unique needs include health, education, energy, financial inclusion, gender inclusion, nutrition, commerce, industrial development, and other socioeconomic good. A selection of nominees will showcase their startup; start-ups are selected based on the criteria of innovation, uniqueness, growth, potential, and impact potential on the continent.

Closing Session

Participants will convene for the final closing session of ADIS2019. The ADIS Co-Chair will provide a brief summary of key takeaways and highlights, including opportunities for action and upcoming ADN events.

Evening Reception and Live Performance

Join us for our closing reception, featuring live musical performance over light food and beverages. Network and energize collaboration with fellow participants at the symposium. What is your greatest takeaway? How do you plan to take action? Celebrate with us and continue conversations spurred from ADIS2019.

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Computer History Museum

1401 North Shoreline Boulevard

Mountain View, CA 94043

View Map

Refund Policy

Refunds up to 30 days before event

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