President Paul Kagame has called for the mobilization of resources and creating new ideas that will solve problems towards the development of Africa.
The Head of State made the call on Tuesday at the African Diaspora Network (ADN) virtual celebration, as the Silicon Valley-based nonprofit marks a decade of service to African innovators and entrepreneurs furthering development in the continent in areas of Technology, Healthcare, Finance, and Education.
“We have to think beyond the present moment by mobilizing resources and new ideas to accelerate the development our people need. Africans in the Diaspora can continue to play a role in this,” Kagame said.
Kagame further said that over the years ADN has brought together thousands of like-minded people to believe in, and contribute to the progress on the African continent.
“This year you have adapted to the Covid-19 pandemic by finding new ways to serve and connecting your members. Rwanda and other countries on the continent are doing the same, as we work to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on our people and our economies,” Kagame said.
For the decade in service now, ADN has built a community of 1200 members, a network of over 7,500 people, and has received funding from the African Development Foundation, Ebay, Johnson and Johnson, Facebook, Global Fund for Women, USAID, Mastercard Foundation, and many other organizations that are committed to the advancement of the African continent.
According to ADN, programs including the African Diaspora Investment Symposium have attracted over 3,000 attendees interested in investing and partnering with African and Africa-focused business leaders and entrepreneurs including the Impact and Innovation Forums, social entrepreneurship awards, the Builders of Africa’s Future, and a variety of mentorship programs for diaspora entrepreneurs and youth.
The Head of State added that Africa needs to learn from the experience of others to ensure regional integration and technological innovation to ensure success.
Kagame said “In Rwanda, we have learned that one way to get where we need to be, is to pay attention to inclusivity, leaving no one behind. For example, by guaranteeing the participation of women in the leadership at all levels, we can only win.”
By giving example, he said that the African Continental Free Trade Area, which is nearing implementation, provides a vast opportunity for investment, business, and human capital development, on a scale never seen before.
The ADN decade celebration featured key remarks from Dr. Musimbi Kanyoro, founding board member and co-chair of ADN, and former president and CEO of Global Fund for Women and Dr. Jacqueline Bouvier Copeland, founder of the WISE Fund, an initiative that supports women technologists of indigenous and African-descent with promising eco-health solutions to climate change.
Other key speakers included Dan Hartz, Founding Board Member, African Diaspora Network, and Almaz Negash, Founder and Executive Director, African Diaspora Network.
“We are excited to be celebrating 10 years of being a conduit for local and global African Diaspora entrepreneurs, tech professionals, innovators and philanthropists who are interested in working with, or being mentored by, the world’s most prolific innovators,” said Almaz Negash, Co-Founder and Executive Director, ADN.
“I started this journey with the express intention of amplifying the collective work of Africans, Diasporas, and friends of Africa. The success stories from our members and the impact we have seen have made it all worth it,” she added.