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But… digital transformation in Africa is just beginning…
By Angel Investor Review – May 3, 2021 583 0
‘The Covid-19 pandemic buttressed the importance of a digitally enhanced society but, digital transformation in Africa is just beginning. With numerous innovative start-ups emerging across the continent, bringing new ideas to old problems and accessing smart funding, there is no doubt as to the transformative potential of Africa.’, says Hauwa Yabani, Chair of the Africa Summit, WBAF 2021.

Drawing together hundreds of the world’s top business leaders on a virtual platform, the 2021 World Congress of Angel Investors WBAF started shaping the global agenda for the world’s early- and post-early stage equity markets for the year ahead. For the first time ever, the Forum’s annual congress, the world’s biggest annual gathering of early-stage equity and investment markets, hosted 6 continental summits with the participation of more than 700 delegates from around the world — all online.

An affiliated partner of the G20 Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion, the World Business Angels Investment Forum, through its continental summits, develops continental dialogues between entrepreneurs, investors, policymakers and thought leaders. One of these dialogues was in the Africa Summit on 18 February chaired by Hauwa Yabani; it hosted H. E. Lansana Kouyate, Former Prime Minister of Guinea; Baybars Altuntas – Executive Chairman of the World Business Angels Investment Forum; Bulent Senver, Ex-Chairman, Denizbank, Founder, Turkish Ethics Values Centre, as keynote speakers and, two international roundtables with two moderators and 8 speakers.

Hauwa Yabani, Chair of the Africa Summit, WBAF 2021, says ‘The acquisition of African startups for multi-million dollar exits are clear indications that quality and promising ventures are being built all around the continent and seeking the right deals. Angel investors have an opportunity to support Africa’s digital revolution and benefit immensely from the productive youth dominated continent. This and the scale of business opportunities in the all-important agriculture sector in Africa informed the themes of the panel discussions at the Africa Summit of the 2021 WBAF Congress which are, Backing the digital transformation in Africa with Angel Investments and the Prospects for Angel Investments in Agriculture in Africa; Opportunities from Challenges in the Sector.’

Hauwa Yabani summarises 8 key takeaways from the Summit as follows:

• Both collaboration within countries in Africa and with other countries outside Africa are essential for its economic growth.
• Expedited digital transformation is equally essential to the continent’s economic development.
• There is much left to be done across all sectors and importantly, agriculture, to harness the significant impact that angel investments through smart funding can result in.
• Deepened and sustained public private partnerships are required to strengthen the entrepreneurship ecosystem in the continent.
• Africa’s economic growth could be faster if stock exchanges within the continent come together to launch a startup stock exchange for the benefit of enterprises within the continent.
• It will be great if Africa establishes its own startup investment exit within Africa and not out of Africa so that the money stays within the continent.
• WBAF is open to suggestions and collaborations from Africa on better ways to solve problems in the continent and support greater financial inclusion.
• The WBAF has only just started anchoring conversations on the role of angel investments in Africa. These will continue with the view to unlocking the potentials of risk capital to the desired expedited development of the continent.

She concludes ‘Digital transformation presents an opportunity for Africa to provide more value in new ways, thereby leapfrogging conventional development trajectories and accelerating its social and economic advancement. The discussions at the WBAF 2021 Africa Summit centered on this much-needed transformation, focused on the African continent’s major economic sector of agriculture and, delved into other pertinent matters like the impact that an ethical framework for startups ventures would have, the increasing role of business diplomacy in Africa and the challenge for cooperation between Europe and Africa in the focus sector. Moving forward, the World Business Angel Investors Week from 18 to 24 October 2021 will be the perfect place to showcase the beneficial ways of partnerships and solidarity in Africa.’

Hauwa Yabani serves as a Board Member of the International Association of Science Parks and Areas of Innovation (IASP). She represents Nigeria in the Grand Assembly of the World Business Angels Investment Forum (WBAF) as a High Commissioner. She serves as the Country Director of the WBAF Nigeria Country Office. She has been announced as the 2021 Chair for Africa – the World Business Angels Investors Week, 18 – 24 October 2021.

By Kazeem Balogun

Kazeem Balogun is the Managing Editor of Kalo Africa News.

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