Boko Inyundo was invited, as a member of the Board at AFFORD and a Council member of the Royal African Society as well as a Non-Executive Advisor to the Africa + Tech-focused consultancy De Charles and his business development role aligned to the Technology Sector team at the global law firm DLA Piper, to feature as a panellist at the Africa Tech Summit London which was held on Wednesday 16th May at the Grange St. Paul’s hotel in the City of London.
AFFORD was delighted to support this major annual gathering of +250 African and international tech leaders, investors, entrepreneurs, policy makers, corporate executives and others besides that are driving growth in Africa while this conference provides unrivalled insight into the latest tech trends and developments across this ‘mobile-first continent’. The panel Boko Inyundo participated in included:
• Chi Onwurah, both a UK Member of Parliament and elected Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Africa, which the Royal African Society administers, as well as a Chartered Electrical Engineer with over twenty years’ experience introducing new technologies all over the world including in Africa;
• Bosun Tijani, CEO and co-Founder of Co-creation Hub, Nigeria’s foremost incubation space for technologists, social entrepreneurs, government, tech companies, impact investors and hackers in and around Lagos (n.b. when Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg went to Nigeria in 2016, a meeting with ‘Bosun was his first official engagement in the country);
• Emem Rita Usanga, Founder of Bnkability, a platform that helps SME’s become investor ready, and co-Lead at Tech London Advocates Africa.
The panel explored issues relating to the building of an inclusive technology ecosystem in Africa and the evolving role of legislators. In advance of this discussion Boko Inyundo had invited personal contacts that are leading Africa + Tech-focussed industry executives to share their insights on this topic and this, together with his own knowledge of this arena through his pro-bono commitments, formed the basis for the opening remarks Boko Inyundo was asked to make at the event and through which the panel discussion was framed. The interactive event day discussion has also led the organisers of the event to publish this article that Boko Inyundo has authored reflecting on his market analysis, and the panel and audience’s perspectives, on what a mix of stakeholders would need to focus their attention on in order to ensure Africa’s technology ecosystem evolves to most effectively foster more equitable and sustainable economic development.
The article and the event itself provided a valuable opportunity for Boko Inyundo to raise awareness of AFFORD’s role in supporting African Diaspora communities who want to contribute to the development of their home countries and who are increasingly playing a key role in filling the gap in early stage, pre-revenue funding for start-ups. Notably Boko Inyundo reflected on AFFORD’s role in promoting Diaspora investment opportunities for jobs and wealth creation through the recently launched Africa Diaspora Finance (ADF) programme 2016 – 2018 co-funded by Comic Relief and UKAid through the Common Ground Initiative as well as the Noel Buxton Trust and the Pharo Foundation. The ADF has already provided circa £770,000 worth of investment to 31 diaspora enterprises that are solving pressing problems in 8 African countries (Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Uganda, Zimbabwe) and it has provided circa £400,000 worth of investment in business support in Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Zimbabwe, with almost £200,000 in match-funds invested by diaspora entrepreneurs. The ADF has created 538 jobs while 500 people have received training in new skills across the continent with all the above effectively helping to further enhance Africa’s social economy.