Women and the Changing Face of Entrepreneurship in Africa

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Women and the Changing Face of Entrepreneurship in Africa Conference

Harvard University, October 1-2, 2020

It is with great pleasure that we invite you to attend a conference on Women and the Changing Face of Entrepreneurship in Africa hosted virtually by the Harvard University Center for African Studies taking place on October 1-2, 2020. We had previously scheduled this conference for April 2020; however, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we opted to postpone the conference and instead proceed with a virtual event. The topic remains important, more so now than ever, as the pandemic is impacting businesses, especially women-run businesses on the African continent.

The conference will feature four panels over two days with a keynote lecture on October 1, and the Hakeem and Myma Belo-Osagie Distinguished Lecture on African Business and Entrepreneurship in Africa will be delivered October 2 by Dr. Vera Songwe, United Nations Under Secretary-General and Executive Secretary, Economic Commission for Africa. These conversations will provide a clearer understanding of the landscape of women entrepreneurship on the continent, identify challenges and opportunities, examine policy frameworks, and define policy actions that would position African women, leaders in global women entrepreneurship, to play a transformative role in the world’s largest emerging market.

The conference is a collaboration between Harvard University’s Center for African Studies, Lionesses of Africa, which is a 1 million-strong network of women entrepreneurs on the continent and Diaspora, London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG), the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), and Standard Bank Group, a leading financial institution with a strong track record of supporting women entrepreneurs on the continent. The conference is also supported by Empower Africa.

We look forward to engaging with you virtually on this very important topic.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at africa@harvard.edu.

#WomenChangingAfrica

 

Facebook Live: https://www.facebook.com/HarvardAfricanStudies/posts/3953279388021545

Youtube Live: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ONPQCfy2R0I

 

 

 

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RSVP here by September 30th: https://forms.gle/tV2XBwmghLaJCDJy7

Conference Agenda

(All times in EDT)

October 1, 2020

DAY ONE

9:00AM*:         Welcome from Conference Hosts

9:15AM:         Panel One (Plenary Session): Women Entrepreneurs, Business Agility, and Africa’s Massive Job Creation Challenge

Panelists:

  • Kofo Akinkugbe, Founder & CEO, SecureID (Nigeria)
  • Sarah Collins, Founder & CEO, Wonderbag (South Africa)
  • Divine Ndhlukula, Founder & CEO, Securico (Zimbabwe) 
  • Adenike Ogunlesi, Founder & Chief Responsibility Officer, Ruff 'n' Tumble (Nigeria)
  • Kate Quartey-Papafio, Founder & CEO, Reroy Cables Limited (Ghana)

Moderator:
Melanie Hawken, Founder & CEO,
Lionesses of Africa (United Kingdom)

10:15AM:       Keynote Address

Delivered by Dr. Zoe Marks, Lecturer in Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School

10:45AM:       Panel Two: Women Entrepreneurs, Value-added Commodity Processing, and Economic Diversification

Panelists:

  • Kimberly Addison, Co-founder, ’57 Chocolate (Ghana)
  • Tiguidanke Mounir Camara, Founder, Chairman, and CEO, Tigui Mining Group TMG (Guinea)
  • Flora Mutahi, Founder & CEO, Melvin Marsh International (Kenya)
  • Ndidi Nwuneli, Co-founder & Managing Partner, Sahel Consulting (Nigeria)
  • Lorna Scott, Founder & CEO, Inverroche (South Africa)

Moderator:
Diane
Côté, Chief Risk Officer, London Stock Exchange Group (UK), Director of Women Inspired Network

 

October 2, 2020

DAY TWO

9:00AM:         Welcome from Conference Hosts

9:10AM:         Panel Three: The Digital Economy and Economic Growth for Africa’s Women Entrepreneurs

Panelists:

  • Nkemdilim Begho, Founder & CEO, Future Software Resources (Nigeria)
  • Rebecca Enonchong, Founder & CEO, AppsTech (Cameroon)
  • Suzan Kereere, Global Head Merchant Sales & Acquiring, Visa International (United Kingdom)
  • Catherine Mahugu, Founder, Chiswara & Soko(Kenya)
  • Aisha Pandor, Co-founder & CEO, SweepSouth (South Africa)

Moderator:
Roshini Naidoo, Executive and General Manager, Discovery Limited (South Africa)

10:10AM:       Hakeem and Myma Belo-Osagie Distinguished Lecture on African Business and Entrepreneurship in Africa

Delivered by Dr. Vera Songwe, United Nations Under Secretary-General and Executive Secretary, Economic Commission for Africa

11:10AM:       Panel Four: Strengthening Institutional and Policy Frameworks, Funding, and Networks to Advance Women Entrepreneurs

Panelists:

  • Sola David-Borha, Chief Executive, Africa Regions, Standard Bank Group (South Africa)
  • Hend El Sherbini, Founder & CEO, IDH (Egypt)
  • Essma Ben Hamida, Co-founder & Director, Enda Inter-Arabe (Tunisia)
  • Natalie Kolbe, Partner, Actis (South Africa)
  • Vanessa Moungar, Director of Gender, Women and Civil Society, African Development Bank (Côte d'Ivoire)

Moderator:
Chantelé Carrington, Africa Business Group COO, PwC United Kingdom (United Kingdom)

 

12:30PM:       Closing Remarks

Myma Belo-Osagie, Counsel at Udo Udoma & Belo-Osagie (Nigeria) and Chair, Harvard Africa Advisory Board

 

 

 

*All Times in EDT

6:00AM PDT  | 9:00AM EDT | 2:00PM WAT  | 3:00PM CAT  | 4:00PM EAT

Panel Details

Panel One (Plenary Session): Women Entrepreneurs, Business Agility, and Africa’s Massive Job Creation Challenge
Here we seek to understand factors for the rise of high-growth women entrepreneurs, pathways that can facilitate their international expansion, and how we can support the next generation of high-growth entrepreneurs. How has the landscape been changed by COVID-19, and how are women entrepreneurs adopting new ways of doing business? We also seek to correct the prevailing picture of African women enterprises as small or medium scale. In agriculture, digital, manufacturing, artisan enterprise, fashion, and services, Africa’s women entrepreneurs are creating large-scale businesses. How do we support, scale up, sustain, and replicate such large-scale endeavors both in the present environment and as we look towards a post-pandemic economy?

Panel Two: Women Entrepreneurs, Value-added Commodity Processing, and Economic Diversification. 
We seek to understand the trend of women entrepreneurs creating newer, more dynamic, and higher value agro-products such as chocolate, beauty products, botanicals, teas, and coffees. African women have entered into mining and minerals beneficiation. We have long recognized the need for diversification in the commodities and natural resources sectors, and the COVID-19 pandemic has only accelerated the push for economic diversification, processing of commodities and raw materials, and industrialization.

Panel Three: The Digital Economy and Economic Growth for Africa’s Women Entrepreneurs. How do we solve the connectivity gap and create opportunities for Africa’s women and girls to be part of a more inclusive digital world? How do we provide access to digital technologies that allow Africa’s women to benefit fully from the goods, services, and capital available across online markets? How do we leverage emerging technologies and business models to remove longstanding barriers to women’s economic opportunities in poor countries? What examples have arisen in response to the COVID-19 pandemic that illustrate the embrace of new digital platforms, e-commerce, and mobile payment solutions?

Panel Four: Strengthening Institutional and Policy Frameworks, Funding, and Networks to Advance Women Entrepreneurs.
How can policy formulation promote and elevate women’s entrepreneurship as a priority for African economies? How do we overcome the funding gap? How can we design banking products and offerings that African women entrepreneurs need? How do we strengthen corporate governance and legal frameworks to guide women entrepreneurs to on the international scene? What national responses to the economic impacts of COVID-19 have been successful in supporting women’s entrepreneurship and getting funding to those who will most benefit?

Speaker Biographies

TBA

Documents

Media

Acknowledgements

Hakeem and Myma Belo-Osagie
Since 2015, the Center for African Studies has hosted the annual Hakeem and Myma Belo-Osagie Distinguished Lecture on African Business and Entrepreneurship in Africa endowed by Hakeem and Myma Belo-Osagie. Hakeem and Myma are strong supporters of the Center for African Studies and sit on the Center's Africa Advisory Board. This year's lecture will be the keynote lecture on October 2, 2020.

Lionesses of Africa
Lionesses of Africa creates impact by growing the next generation of women entrepreneurs across Africa. By supporting women to achieve their start-up dreams, we empower them to generate economic prosperity, to improve their communities, and to become game-changers Africa needs to solve pressing socio-economic problems.

London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG)
London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG) is a global financial markets infrastructure business. Its diversified global business focuses on Information Services, Risk and Balance Sheet Management and Capital Formation. The Group supports global financial stability and sustainable economic growth by enabling businesses and economies to fund innovation, manage risk and create jobs.

The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA)
Established by the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the United Nations (UN) in 1958 as one of the UN's five regional commissions, ECA's mandate is to promote the economic and social development of its member States, foster intra-regional integration, and promote international cooperation for Africa's development. UNECA plays a dual role as a regional arm of the UN and as a key component of the African institutional landscape, ECA is well positioned to make unique contributions to address the Continent’s development challenges.

Empower Africa
Empower Africa was founded out of a vital need to create significant international awareness and impact during a unique window of opportunity to uplift Sierra Leone. Their business network enables established and emerging businesses to connect, partner, and create long term value with Africa-based projects. Empower Africa liaises with government, major corporations, and investors to deliver deal flow and research across our network. Empower Africa believes that business, trade, and investment, will enhance the quality of life in Africa and the human capital potential.

Standard Bank
Standard Bank is Africa’s largest banking group by assets, offering a range of banking and related financial services in 20 African countries and 5 global financial centres. Standard Bank drives sustainable and inclusive economic growth in Africa, aiming to make life better for fellow Africans by doing the right business, the right way. In addition to growing the representation of women in leadership positions we believe that gender equity is a fundamental human right, and we have committed to help create a gender-equal world. We have collaborated with UNECA and MiDA Advisors to launch the African Women Impact Fund (AWIF), an innovative impact fund that will provide capital and expertise to women fund managers across Africa. The fund, the first of its kind, aims to empower women fund managers, who in turn will invest in high-impact businesses and projects across the continent, thus driving entrepreneurship and growth in Africa. In 2011 we became a signatory of the UN Women Empowerment Principles, and in 2018 we joined forces with the UN Women HeForShe movement. Part of that commitment is to a UN Women social initiative which increases productivity and access to market of women through climate-smart agriculture projects in Malawi, Nigeria, South Africa and Uganda.