A couple of years ago I was seated in an investment strategy meeting. We were a handful of young Ugandans and a French – Canadian gentleman trying to work out how to raise over USD 25 million for a project. In the middle of the meeting he paused and asked us.
“Who built America? Who built Canada? Who built Europe? Who built China?”
As we started to build an academic answer – one that took into account capital flow, source of raw materials and labor, fiscal and economic policy he cut us short and said;
“Americans built America. Canadians built Canada. Europeans built Europe. Chinese built China. As Africans you are going to have to build Africa, nobody is going to do it for you”.
It was in that moment that our investment strategy changed.
Too often as Africans, we have been convinced that America, Europe and China are here to develop Africa and we have been encouraged to seek all manners of assistance be it Foreign Aid, Foreign Direct Investment as a means to developing this rich continent.
Over 6 months ago when we held the first Aido Investment and Business Forum this is the route we intended to pursue. And whereas this remains a part of our plan, we want to do it in a purposeful way that will bring long term economic benefits to our community. But to do this, we need to go back to the basics.
Some of the basic needs human beings need for survival include; Nutrition, Education, Health, Shelter, Energy to mention but a few. Look around at any developmental organization or those involved in foreign direct investment in Africa and you will find them heavily involved in these priority sectors. If we are to build sustainable businesses and create generational wealth, like our development partners, we must also focus our investments in these same sectors. We cannot afford in any way shape or form to allow access to our basic needs – whether it is publicly or privately funded to be controlled by anyone other than ourselves.
That is why the next series of quarterly business forums will be a deep-dive into opportunities into each of these human needs starting with Health. Our selection of Health also comes at a time where the world has an exit strategy from the Covid-19 global pandemic. It has been a challenging time for all of us but I firmly believe – and I quote;
“Our most significant opportunities are found in times of greatest challenge.”
Throughout the pandemic the message has been on protecting ourselves from catching the virus and a reminder of the old adage “Prevention is better than cure”. The team at AIBC is excited to bring to you a cross section of Health, Wellness and Business professionals and advocates whose vast knowledge we will harness to highlight the opportunities in both the preventative and curative aspects of healthcare. These sessions provide us with opportunities to not only exchange ideas but to also foster the spirit of community and empower ourselves with knowledge and information that we need to drive the change we want to see. Change is the broader vision of Aido and more specifically within the AIBC sustainable economic change is what we are striving to achieve.
A common African proverb I see used a lot today is “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” For me this has a lot to do with the moment we are living in when grassroots communities are coming together not simply to challenge the status quo but to drive for systemic change. We have a monumental task ahead of us. One that requires our collective effort to build from the ground up. One in which we put ourselves at the heart of driving the change that will build the Africa not just for ourselves but for our children and our children’s children.
And one which we can do if we Visualize, Strategize, Mobilize and then Realize.
Visualize – “Form a mental image” of our shared vision for Africa
Strategize – “Plan or create a plan” to deliver our shared vision
Mobilize – “Organize resources” to deliver the plan
Realize – Make that plan happen
This is what you can expect to see and hear this Saturday 22 May 2021 at 2PM UK time when we come together to discuss “Post Covid – Healthcare Investment and Opportunities in Africa”.
Join us in what I see as the start of a series of thought provoking, challenging and action driven conversations.
Chair – AIBC and VP Aido East Africa.