A few months ago, I went to the African Business Day in Rotterdam, the Netherlands at the Erasmus University. I was actually contemplating whether or not to write a blogpost about this event. And I honestly think that it is important to do so (even though nobody reads my posts)… I think it is important for me to reflect on the things I have experienced and share that “I aspire to inspire others by sharing my experiences” right?! So, if you are curious about who were speakers at the African Business Day 2016, keep on reading. Enjoy :)!
African Business Day 2016
The African Business Day, was on the 17th of May in Rotterdam at the Erasmus University. Activities on that day were planned from 09:00 until 21:00, so all day long. The day started with two workshop sessions, both in the morning. Before the event, you could select your preferences and afterwards you would have a workshop assigned. Workshops were given by companies such as Shell, Rabobank, Ecobank and Uber, I believe. Because Rotterdam is soooooo far from where me and my friend live, (1,5h at least), we skipped the morning session and went to the workshop that started at 11:00, given by Shell. I have to say that Shell is a great company to work at. They offer Traineeships and can offer you a job when you are done with your Traineeship. However, I would not want that, yet. Mostly, because I would like to travel around first before settling for an office job. And maybe, I will never get an office job at all?!
After the workshop, there was enough time to ask questions, network with other students and companies etc. Me and my friend hit it off really well with another group of African girls and a guy. Our group existed of people from Nigeria, Ghana, and Rwanda. Other than that, we were all international students, from the Netherlands or Belgium. We hit it off from the start and we all went for lunch together, and we talked about a lot of things concerning life, travel, study etc. Also, we still did not figure out what country makes the best JOLLOF RICE!? Hahaha, so if you know, let me know below who the queens and kings of Jollof are. (I know it is Senegal, anyways lol).
After lunch, things got real. We had people from all over Africa present themselves and what they do. This all was hosted by the beautiful BBC host, Lerato Mbele from South Africa.
First speaker was Gbenga Ajayi from Google. This presentation was about the access to internet in Africa, and how there is still a big gap in the market. He also had a few examples of how access to internet can change and save lives in Africa. For example, there are farmers that have this app that tells them when to plant their vegetables, when to water them, and when it will rain. The farmers receive a text message when it will rain etc. So, everything is in the app. Of course this is a huge benefit for the farmers, as they will be able to predict their harvests as they get notified about the weather and when to harvest or divest etc. This can also be applied to health care. In some African communities, people live miles and miles away from a hospital or health care center. With another app, you can select your symptoms, etc. and a real life doctor will answer your questions and give you a diagnosis/medical advice. This too, can save lives. I would say that technology is a big market in Africa. So, if you have the next big thing, this is your cue!
Wonda World Estates
Second speaker was Nana Kwame Bediako from Wonda World Estates. You guys, if you have not heard about Wonda World, you have been missing out! Nana Kwame Bediako, gave this amazing presentation about his real estate business. He told his story about how he saved up for one condo and how he has now a whole plan for a city called Petronia city. If you want to read more about Petronia City, check out the link. I would say that real estate is also a booming business in Africa. I do not want to spoil too many details about what Nana Kwame Bediako has in store for Ghana and Petronia City, but please check out his video here.
Tailored Business Show
The third speaker was Tania Habimana, who also was a former student at the Rotterdam University. Tania used to work for Suit Supply, and one day she decided to start her own company. She has a brand called African Tailormade. Also, she has her own Youtube series that follows her through her journey of starting her own business called Tailored Business Show. Please watch at least the first episode of her show. I think that people often forget the journey that successful people have traveled. The journey is as or more important than the destination. Don’t you ever forget that.
Beast of No Nation
The fourth speaker was Uzodinma Iweala, the writer of the book Beast of no Nation. Do I need to say more? Beast. Of. No. Nation. (yes, Idris Elba!) Hahaha, I would say that his presentation was important to me, because I really love writing, telling stories, being creative, and Uzodinma Iweala actually advocated the importance of storytelling in Africa. He talked about how media coverage of Africa is important in the world as there are still certain perceptions of Africa, which are not even true. Yessss, I am talking about the poor Africans that have no clothes, and the children with a puffy stomach and flies on their face that are representing charities. Like, do these images of Africa not tire you? They literally make me roll my eyes out… The problem is not that they show this about Africa (to me) the problem is that these are the only images that are known world wide about Africa. That is the problem. Africa is not being well represented. Additionally, Africa consists of over 50 countries so it can not ever be homogeneous and neither is it monolithic. Iweala emphasized the fact that we have to keep telling stories. African stories. Creating a narrative is important, and that is what he will keep doing. (thank God, we need it). If you haven’t already, please check out his movie or read his book Beast of no Nation. Lol, no link this time guys! But do not hesitate to read this cool interview with Uzodinma Iweala here!
Thank you guys for reading this about the African Business Day! If you want to know more about the speakers, check out the links I have provided you with. If you want to read more about a similar event, please check out my article on the AfricaWorks! event of 2014. Click here if you want to read more about the event in the Erasmus Magazine.