In less than three weeks, President Barack Obama will participate in the Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) in Nairobi, Kenya. Entrepreneurship remains a top priority for the President as he enters the final lap of his second term in office. He founded GES as a platform to facilitate exchanges of views and ideas between global leaders and entrepreneurs. It is the first time since its beginning in 2009 that GES – first announced in Obama’s historic “New Beginning Speech” in Cairo – is being held in Sub-Saharan Africa.
The 2015 conference holds a special significance for Kenya – it will be the first visit by a sitting U.S. President to Kenya since independence in 1963. It is also Barack Obama’s long anticipated first Presidential visit to the home-country of his father. GES offers an opportunity for Kenyans to show the world all that they have to offer; from the entrepreneurship and innovation that earned them the moniker “Silicon Savannah”, to the economic growth that garnered a mention in Fortune Magazine as a top seven smart investment destination in light of tempering prospects in the BRICs. Kenyans even welcome the added attention on their already world famous wildlife and breathtaking landscapes from the snow-capped Mt. Kenya, to the award winning Diani Beach.
Reactions to President Obama’s historic visit have been loud – his grandmother’s K’ogelo village has hosted several events in preparation of the visit including a Sports, Culture, Investment and Tourism Expo (“Destination Siaya Kababa 2015”). Over $4 million has been invested for facelifts to sites that will host the GES guests. However, it has not all been positive; several commentators have spoken their peace – see Robert Rotberg’s acerbic “Going to Kenya Is a Dumb Idea, Mr. President”, and an interesting response from Dikembe Disembe that agrees in principle.
Ahead of the summit, ALN is engaging in conversation with some of the most dynamic and influential new-generation leaders in Africa. These discussions will explore the boundaries of possibility in Africa with a spotlight on Kenya: how do we define, defend and defy boundaries on matters of investments in entrepreneurship, building global partnerships, and inspiring future leaders? How do we ensure that Kenya can translate the visibility and spotlight of GES into investment dollars and job creation? We are engaging Young Global Leaders (WEF), Social Entrepreneurs, CEO’s and Ministers including Bob Collymore – CEO Safaricom, Kennedy Odede – Founder SHOFCO and Susan Mboya-Kidero, President of the Coca Cola Foundation.
Follow these conversations on Twitter @Prosper4Africa, using the hashtags #FoundedinAfrica and #AskALN. Starting July 10th 2015, we will post short 2-3 minute vignettes from our interviews. A handful of these leaders will be hosting Twitter Chats starting Wednesday July 17th – check out the full schedule below. We will update it regularly. Let your our voices be heard!
Check out a sneak preview from our conversation with Bob Collymore here.
#AskALN GES Conversation Twitter Chat Schedule
Join the conversation with the African Leadership Network (@Prosper4Africa) on the Global Entrepreneurship Summit (#GESKenya2015), using the hashtags #AskALN and #FoundedinAfrica. Schedule below is current as of 7/06/2015. Check out the ALN blog for any updates: www.africanleadershipnetwork.
- Thursday 7/16/2015, 4.00-4.45pm EAT, Wanjiru Kamau-Rutenberg, Director African Women in Agricultural Research & Development (AWARD). Founder Akili Dada. Topic: Big Data for Leadership & Social Change
- Friday 7/17/2015, 4.00-4.45pm EAT, Bob Collymore, CEO of Safaricom Ltd. Topic: Innovation, Disruption & the Internet of Things in Africa
- Monday 7/20/2015, 7.45-8.00pm EAT, Vivian Onano, Activist & Advocation for Youth & Women Topic: Speaking Loud,Acting Louder; Knocking Down the Barriers to Education
- Tuesday 7/21/2015, 4.00-4.45pm EAT, Kennedy Odede, President & Co-Founder Shining Hope for Communities (SHOFCO), Young Global Leader-WEF. Topic: Why grassroots social movements will transform Africa
- Wednesday 7/22/2015, 4.00-4.45pm, George Mukundi, Head, AU Africa Governance Architecture. Topic: The AU @ 50, Building Global Partnerships as a renewed “Africa”
- Thursday 7/23/2015, 4.00-4.45pm, Charlene Migwe, Co-Founder Synacor, Chairperson YALI Regional Board. Topic: New generation Women in Tech