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Engaging the African Diaspora: Partnering for Long-term Trade, Investment and Skills for Workforce Development in Africa
June 10, 2015World Bank J Building, 701 18th street NW, Washington DC, Room JB1-080

The potential wealth and talent existing in the African Diaspora is enormous. Some researchers estimate that US$53 billion is saved on an annual basis by the African Diaspora. Additionally, it is estimated that by 2040 Africa will have a larger workforce than China or India. All of this will require targeted new enterprise growth in areas that can enhance food supply, healthcare services, and educational solutions, particularly in the area of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) within local communities. The World Bank Group's first Annual African Diaspora Trade Forum will bring together donors, entrepreneurs, investors, and others who are looking to create trade, investment, and mentorship opportunities in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Watch the recordings on World Bank Live

Recording of all afternoon panels

The main goal of this year's forum is to engage and incentivize entrepreneurs and investors in the African Diaspora who are looking to create trade, investment, and mentorship opportunities in Sub-Saharan Africa.

At its core, the forum will be an opportunity for participants to interact with and hear from various demographics in the African diaspora, highlighting their successes and failures in doing business throughout the African continent. Speakers will include diaspora early-stage investors and entrepreneurs as well as donor partners who will discuss existing programs which are being implemented to take advantage of the diaspora's potential to boost trade and investment.

In addition, preliminary results from a pilot survey on the Africa diaspora will be shared for the first time at the forum. Developed by the World Bank Group's Trade and Competitiveness Global Practice, this survey has been designed to gather data on the engagement of African diaspora individuals with origins from eight African countries, and focuses on their business activities in the following areas: agribusiness, consumer products, energy, climate change, financial services/inclusion, and tourism. While still in its pilot phase, the survey will provide some insight into the activities of diaspora communities in developing trade, investment, and technical assistance opportunities with their countries of origin. 

By sparking animated discussions, the forum aims to be a point collaboration between all attendees, leading to the discovery of partnerships and potential synergies with a variety of stakeholders invested in strengthening the African continent through trade and investment opportunities.


John Speakman
Practice Manager, Trade and Competitiveness Global Practice

Lucy Fye
Senior Private Sector Development Specialist

Nii Simmonds
Private Sector Development Specialist

Beverley Mbu

Donald Agaba

8:30am – 9:00am

Light breakfast and remarks from organizers

9:00am – 9:10am

Opening remarks from Chair: Klaus Tilmes

9:10am – 9:20am

Remarks from Co-Chairs: Arup Banerji and Amit Dar

9:20am – 10:50am

Panel: Diaspora Investors and Entrepreneurs: Opportunities and challenges in scaling SMEs 
in various sectors

Moderator: Nii Simmonds, Private Sector Development Specialist, World Bank Group
- Kojo Appiah, Co-Founder and Chairman, TAN - The Africa Network
- Linda Oramasionwu, Principal, Kupanda Capital
- Veronica Wabukawo, COO, Sisters Bridal
- Rebecca Enonchong, Founder and CEO, Appstech
- Samiya Edwards, Principal, Libera Partners
- Ato Ulzen-Appiah, Co-Founder and Director, GhanaThink

10:50am – 11:05am

Coffee break

11:05am – 12:20pm

Panel: SME Financing Opportunities: Funding sources to obtain early-stage capital

Moderator: Yomi Alawode, Head of Islamic Finance, World Bank 
- Grace Kyokunda, Chief Financial Sector Development Officer, AFDB
- Matt Gamser, CEO, SME Finance Forum, IFC
- Kerry Max, Director, Inclusive Financial Services, Mennonite Economic Development Associates
- Michael Metzler, Director, USAID Development Credit Authority, USAID
- Paul Wade, Deputy Director and Head of Section for Private Sector Development, Norad

12:30pm – 1:40pm

Lunch and keynote by Nilla Selormey, Damien Carl Capital

1:40pm – 1:50pm Making Finance Work for Africa (MFW4A) - Abdelkader Benbrahim

1:50pm – 2:10pm

Diaspora Trade & Investment Survey in partnership with African Development Bank (AfDB)

2:15pm – 3:30pm

Panel: Engaging Diaspora in Climate Change and Green Industries:
Potential opportunities for the diaspora to participate by providing technical assistance, mentorship
and investment for Green Industries

Moderator: Fisseha Abbisa, Stakeholder Engagement Officer, World Bank Climate Change 
- Einar Telnes, Director, Climate, Energy and Environment
- Norad James Close, Director, World Bank Climate Change
- Jonathan Kirschner, Portfolio Manager, Development Innovation Ventures (DIV), USAID
- Mike Ehst, Program Officer, infoDev
- David Rodgers, Senior Climate Change Specialist, GEF

3:30pm – 3:50pm

Coffee break

3:50pm – 5:10pm

Panel: The Potential on Diaspora Engagement:
Trade, Skills Development, Education and Youth Mentorship in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)

Moderator: David Robalino, Manager, Jobs
- Kendra Gaither, Global Initiatives Adviser, Carnegie Mellon University
- Peter Materu, Practice Manager, Education Global Practice, World Bank
- Benedicta Boateng Apeadu, Country Director, IDP Foundation
- Professor Nkechi Agwu, Professor of Mathematics, Carnegie African Diaspora Fellow
- Jeremy Coats, Program Officer, Institute of International Education (IIE)

5:10pm – 5:30pm

Closing keynote by Fabien Amany, Ecobank Group Head, Local Corporate & SMEs

5:30pm – 5:40pm Closing remarks

5:40pm – 7:00pm


This event is brought in partnership with:
Event details
  • Where: Room JB1-080, World Bank J Building, 701 18th street NW, Washington DC
  • When: 8:30am - 5pm, June 10, 2015
  • Language: English and French
  • CONTACT: Beverley Mbu
  • bmbu@worldbank.org