On 25-26 January 2020, the Warwick Africa Summit 2020 took place in the Oculus Building at the University of Warwick. The Warwick Africa Summit is an interdisciplinary conference focused on African development and is solely organised by students. Students from the GSD Department were part of the team behind the Warwick Africa Summit 2020, including final year Sociology and GSD student Seiwaa Osei Afriyie (President of the Warwick Africa Summit), second year Single Honours GSD student Taigh Adebajo (Co-Director of Finance) and second year Single Honours GSD student Trinity Awelo (Logistics). As President of the Warwick Africa Summit, Seiwaa has put together her highlights of the event below.
Highlights of Warwick Africa Summit 2020
By Nana Seiwaa Osei Afriyie
Final-year Sociology and GSD student
As the President of the Warwick Africa Summit, I had the privilege and honor of introducing the Warwick Africa Summit 2020. I welcomed over 450 delegates coming from over 30 different African countries and several industry and political leaders from Africa.
Our theme for this year was Umoja Ni Nguvu, which translates from Swahili to “Unity is Strength”. Our theme provides a guiding force for the philosophy Pan-Africanism: the belief that our shared prosperity can only be achieved through the strength of a united continent. One held by Africa’s foremost Pan-Africanist, Kwame Nkrumah, who strived to show Africa that its potential should be realised by itself, for itself. We have connected challenges, but I believe there are connected solutions.
We organised this summit to exemplify the very ideals captured by our theme. We believe that in order to actually translate these ideals into real change, there has to be a widespread acknowledgment of the necessity for actual independence and increased internal productivity within the continent. We hope that we convinced our delegates of the value of these goals and inspired them all to pursue them in whatever ways they can. On behalf of the 2020 Exec, we believe we must all contribute to the improvement of our beloved continent. We must rise up and show up, not to shout but to let our voices facilitate the change our continent desires.
I am proud to announce that we have been able to fund the money to build a well in Somalia and help achieve Goal 6: Clean Water and Sanitation
One of the main highlights during the event was bringing my vision to life by launching the Project Msaada. Africa Summit Society will no longer just be a society that discusses the issues and potential, but one that is ready to make an imprint beyond the walls of Coventry, and the United Kingdom. Project Msaada means “to support or to spur action” in Swahili. As a strong advocate for the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), I understand that many of these goals are interconnected. When you accelerate one goal, you immediately boost another goal. I found health to be a fundamental piece of the SDG framework. A healthy person is a productive person. A healthy person has clean water. A person with access to clean water reduces the number of people who die from treatable diseases such as cholera and typhoid. A person with clean water will be healthy enough to go to school. I am proud to announce that we have been able to fund the money to build a well in Somalia and help achieve Goal 6: Clean Water and Sanitation.
Project Msaada will also be donating 701 sustainable kits which include 3 sanitary pads in each kit, to girls in Ghana. The pads will be donated to our past speaker, Her Excellency Samira Bawumia’s Empowerment Project. These pads will last for 3 years and will remove the barriers of girls not being able to get an education because of menstrual problems.
My team and I created a platform that created awareness, educated, discussed, challenged, and motivated others
It wasn’t an easy journey to organise the summit whilst being in my final year and simultaneously running a business in my country Ghana. I single-handedly raised £20,000 in cash and kind, but seeing how successful the event was made it worthwhile and the change we were about to make. My team and I created a platform that created awareness, educated, discussed, challenged, and motivated others. We were able to connect students, academics, and industry and political leaders together. We created internship opportunities, and also secured scholarship opportunities for those who attended.
Every single person in that room played a part, and the summit wouldn’t be what it was without them. Unity is truly strength. I hope that everyone left the summit as excited and inspired as I was and left the room with more energy, motivation and passion to commit to solutions that will address challenges that draw us back as a continent. I know that I certainly did.
I would like to end with “Umoja Ni Nguvu – Unity is Strength”, with we the youth as the forbearers of change.
Industry and political leaders at the event included:
- H.E Paul Kaba Thieba, the former Prime Minister of Burkina Faso;
- Hon. Irene Naa Torshie Addo Lartey from Ghana, politician and lawyer, Warwick Alumni;
- Fred Swaniker (Founder of ALU) of Ghana;
- Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, Co-founder of Access Bank Plc. Nigeria;
- Houssam El Hak Morssi Barakat from Morocco, CEO of BMCE Bank;
- Jennifer Mbaluto, Partner and Co-Head for Clifford Chance East Africa; and
- many more.