27th – 28th January, 2017: Silicon Valley – San Jose, CA
9am: African Diaspora Investment Symposium (ADIS) about to start. Must be over 200 entrepreneurs, fund managers, African diaspora and DFI all gathered here in the heart of Silicon Valley to try and leverage the diaspora dollars and increase the investment flow to Africa from this important source of wealth.
USAID used this platform to announce new initiatives to support businesses that assist the flow and as well support educational initiatives in local content and language. Grants available from $100-250k and must be on by April. Very exciting as the DFI community continues to recognise and support such an important source.
11am: Just moderated an exciting (if I must say so myself) 90-minute panel. Wale Ayeni from re IFC, Idriss Bello from LoftyInc and Neal Hansch from Sherpa Foundry. Great combo of Government, local investment fund and partnership consultant. We discussed what needs to be done to improve the flow of diaspora dollars in terms of process, support, systems and process. Crowd was on their feet… when we finished as we broke for lunch right after.
1pm: Great round table discussions over lunch to squeeze something out of every minute. Each lunch table covered specific topics and tried to make actionable plans that table moderators were tasked to develop credible follow-ups. We tackled education and Dr Olaf Hahn of Robert Bosch Stiftung, as moderator, did a great job keeping us on topic and extracting the best out of a divergent group.
6pm: Day 1 closes to the drumming of local music and a glass of wine… or two. Jet lag takes over and pillow far too enticing but not before talking to African entrepreneurs from the Bay Area with great ideas and projects designed to solve some of biggest issues and impediments of development; energy, water and mentorship. So much energy, great to see!!!
9am: It’s Saturday so suits and ties left at home and colourful local dress helps to surprise the eyes as last night’s sleep was interrupted way too early due to thoughts of the previous day. Today we are friends talking and tackling issues to support flow of funds and ideas. Almaz put on a great programme and I’m for sure coming back next year!! Well done ADIS. Time to enjoy the sun of Palo Alto as the rain and gloom of London lays ahead.