The theme for this year's annual student-organised Warwick Africa Summit was ‘Umoja Ni Nguvu - Connected Challenges, Connected Solutions’, emphasising the importance of solidarity and unity amongst African nations in order to effectively overcome core issues that are faced across the continent.
Here, Warwick Africa Summit's External Relations correspondent Toni Babarinde shares some insights from the conference.
Another exhilarating year for Warwick Africa Summit has passed.
Not only is the fourth annual summit the first to launch its own welfare project - Project Msaada, which strives to provide free sanitary pads for young Zimbabwean girls - but evidently this year's panel discussions were even more enticing than the last. Many attendees commended the fact that panellists did not hesitate to answer the uncomfortable questions that are needed to maximise Africa's growth.
This year’s summit was supported by several charitable sponsors whose values resonated with our summit ethos, such as the Black Young Professionals network and the Warwick Manufacturing School, who offered attendees the opportunity to win £5,000 postgraduate course scholarships.
The weekend garnered up to an astounding 300 attendees who had the privilege to hear from high profile businesswomen such as Ms Joan Momanyi - Program and Communication Manager at CORDIO East Africa - on the sustainability panel and Ms Kofo Akinkugbe - founder and CEO of SecureID Nigeria Ltd – to discuss African technological advancement.
This year’s moderators included award-winning journalist, Ms Femi Oke, who implemented a unique approach to traditional topics such as the impact of the foreign aid sector on African autonomy. On our ‘Money Talks’ panel, which centred around Africa’s economic growth, esteemed world leaders such as Mr Paul Kaba Thieba - the former Prime Minister of Burkina Faso – spoke on the importance of strategic thinking and objectives when pursuing financial prosperity. Our other panels confidently explored how Africa can adapt to 21st century agendas such as environmentally sustainable development and the technological revolution.
Fortunately, the rare insight from key actors in Africa's development was not limited to these exciting panel discussions as a wide range of breakout sessions operated during the summit, which provided our audience with individualised workshops from Africa's biggest entrepreneurs. For instance, Mr Maudo Jallow - consultant at the Tony Blair Institute - proved to be both popular and highly educative with his breakout session on tackling poverty and diversifying African countries’ industries.
Some of the most notable moments from this year's summit include our keynote speeches. Mr Fred Swaniker – the Ghanaian founder of the African Leadership Group - spoke on his goal to produce 3 million leaders by 2060. From his leadership development expertise, he generously shared practical steps on how we can produce innovative solutions for the continent.
Arguably Warwick Africa Summit 2020 has not only provided an exclusive insight on African economies, governance and society from global experts but has also collectively mobilised a new generation of leaders for the continent.
We received an overflow of positive feedback from attendees -
Rhattan Bhorjee (a Politics and Sociology finalist and the president of Warwick STAR - Student Action for Refugees) commented that his most memorable moment of this year’s summit was: “The people that I met there, you always meet the most amazing people, whether it be speakers, students… They were all fascinating people. In fact, I have made contacts of my own that I am using now with Warwick STAR.”
Funbi Akinsanya (a Law finalist) stated: “I left feeling motivated, inspired and with a desire to know more and also how I can do more to help and give back to Africa…how I can think globally as a Nigerian women and the steps that I can take to drive my goals forward”
The Warwick Africa Summit is an interdisciplinary conference focused on African development and is solely organised by students, taking place annually in term 2 on campus.
The summit presents a platform to address the different difficulties faced by the continent through multi-disciplinary keynote speeches and panels addressing Human and Economic Development, Innovation, Governance, Culture and History.
Speakers attending the conference include politicians, bankers, entrepreneurs, activists and philanthropists who have dedicated their lives to unlocking the continent’s true potential.