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Climate Change, Connection and Action | African Diaspora Investment Symposium, ADIS'24 | James Akaba

The 9th edition of the African Diaspora Investment Symposium (ADIS'24) took place from March 20 - 22nd, 2024 at the Hayes Mansion, San Jose, California, USA - Silicon Valley.



ADIS is an initiative of the African Diaspora Network (ADN), created to foster partnerships, educational exchanges, investment opportunities, and to champion the entrepreneurial and innovative spirit of Africans in the diaspora and friends of Africa, for the betterment of Africa and the world. Being part of the conference is going into a journey of mutual discovery, idea exchange, co-creation and exploration of possibilities for Africa, Africans and our respective communities. The conference activates the potential of collaboration; it is the premier convening of the African investment ecosystem in Silicon Valley, to foster the ingenuity of Africans at home and abroad alongside champions from around the world, as the world looks towards Africa as the next frontier for growth and development.


The theme for the 2024 symposium was, "Activate with Africa: Climate Change, Connection and Action".


Day 1 of ADIS’24 started off with private meetings hosted by administrators of the Young African Leadership Initiative, a program sponsored by USAID and the Nigerian Office for Philanthropy and Impact Investing.



One of the highlights of the day was listening to members of President Biden's Advisory Council on African Diaspora Engagement strategies, which involve bringing together everyone with strong indelible ancestral connections to the continent of Africa to work towards supporting economic growth, stability and prosperity for the continent.


The day also included inspiring speeches and remarks by the Honorable Susan Ellenberg, President, Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors; C.D. Glin, President, PepsiCo Foundation, Global Head of Social Impact, PepsiCo, Inc.; Thelma Ekiyor- Solanke, Chairperson, The Nigeria Office for Philanthropy and Impact Investing, and David M. Rice, Investment Executive, Invest Barbados.

 

Day 2 of ADIS24 featured a diverse array of sessions and discussions aimed at addressing key challenges and opportunities facing Africa and the diaspora. Leaders of the African Diaspora Network (AND) unveiled its strategic plan for 2024-2028, emphasizing priorities such as knowledge exchange and human capital development, public-private partnerships, entrepreneurship and social impact. The day also featured a pitch competition by three startuppers who shared their inspiring ventures with us, in a bid for a $10,000-accelerator grant award.



A fireside chat, moderated by Kedest Tesfagiorgis from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, explored ways to channel the untapped energy of Africa's growing pool of young scientific talent into productive outlets, to positively impact both the continent and the world. The first of two plenary sessions discussed how the African diaspora community can move beyond remittances to utilizing their knowledge, skills, and resources in supporting and driving investments in renewable energy projects across Africa. The second plenary session focused on the response of African countries and organizations to the increasing challenges of climate-related health emergencies.


Six breakout rooms covered a range of topics, including:

  •  African Women as Climate Change Champions

  • The Role of Tech & Connectivity in Africa

  • Leveraging Philanthropic Intermediaries to Unlock Philanthropic Capital and Boost Local Solutions in Africa

  • Climate Change Literacy and Learning

  • African Youth Taking Global Climate Action

  • African Artists in the Climate Change Movement.

The day concluded with the Barka Awards ceremony, honoring Agnieszka Winkler for her distinguished contributions to the African and African diaspora community.



The first panel on day three of ADIS24 was a session that explored climate adaptation efforts across Africa and how sustainable agricultural practices can be integrated into the broader objective of achieving food security and development for the continent. The final panel for ADIS24, moderated by Hugh Molotsi (of BuyNothing Project), delved into how artificial intelligence can be leveraged to combat the detrimental consequences climate change has on our planet and the various eco-friendly strategies and approaches that can be employed toward this goal.

The day concluded with the African Diaspora Luminaire Awards which celebrate individuals who have made exceptional contributions and demonstrated commitment to advance the African continent and the communities in which we live. 



Two Open Dreams Scholars currently at the University of California, Berkeley, Patience Sombang and Blessing Kabi were part of the three-day immersion event. Eight other Cameroonians (six of the diaspora community and two directly from Cameroon) were part of the Symposium.


  • James Akaba | Open Dreams

  • Credit: African Diaspora Network

  • Special thanks to the MasterCard Foundation Scholarship Program (MCFSP), African Leadership Academy, Johannesburg - South Africa; The MCFSP at Ashesi University, Accra - Ghana in collaboration with the MCFSP at the University of California, Berkeley.



 




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