Business and government leaders from across the continent met at Johannesburg’s Melrose Arch today for the half-day All Africa Innovation Summit 2015 (AAIS2015), focused on sports and innovation across the continent. Attendees included more than a dozen ALN members.
The Summit took place in advance of the NBA’s first exhibition game in Africa (#NBAAfricaGame), scheduled to take place in Johannesburg on Saturday. The historic match will see a team of African all-stars taking on players from the rest of the world.
Regarding Saturday’s match and the NBA’s commitment to Africa as a growth market, ALN Class of 2015 member Thami Ledwaba said: “We had a number of post World Cup discussions around using sport as a mechanism for social cohesion. And it’s good that people have rallied around the first NBA Africa Game to speak about innovation on the continent. There’s definitely more room for discussion around bringing business to the table—an entrepreneurship-focused angle.”
On the importance of African innovation, friend of ALN and Brand Africa founder Thebe Ikalafeng noted: “It’s important as Africans to focus on innovations, because innovations are the only way we’re going to be able to take Africa from what it is to the Africa we want to see. It’s the only way we’re going to be able to reimagine some of the problems, and turn them into solutions for Africa. Looking at creating brands which are made in Africa, because these are how we’ll create the money that will develop the continent.”
“Today’s important because it inspires hope in Africans, that if we put our minds to anything it can be achieved,” added Candice Watson, of the ALN Class of 2015.
Our members will have a chance to continue the conversations about innovation and sports, when they convene in Marrakech for #ALN2015 November 3-7. “The Annual Gathering is really the confluence of leadership, business, sports, and entertainment. At some point, Africa’s going to realize that all those things have to come together to achieve our goals,” noted ALN Global Advisory Board member Tunde Folawiyo. “There is clear continuity between today’s fantastic innovation Summit, and all the things we’re excited to discuss in Morocco.”
ALN was pleased to co-organize this event, together with the Jeux Africains Brazzaville 2015, Forbes Africa and CNBC Africa. Notable speakers included South African Minister of Sport Fikile Mbalula, ALN member and NBA Africa MD Amadou Gallo Fall, ALN member and Toronto Raptors President and GM Masai Ujiri, and Congo-Brazzaville Minister of Sport Léon-Alfred Opimbat. Panel discussions focused on African Innovations, and on Sports as a Driver of Economic Growth. These were rounded out by a case study on the 2015 All-Africa Games in Congo, moderated by ALN co-founder Acha Leke.
Congo sent numerous delegates to the Summit, as the country looks to showcase its preparations for the 11th All-Africa Games, which it will host September 4-19.
This year, ALN will welcome select non-members to its Annual Gathering for the first time. If you’re an African leader or a global leader committed to African prosperity, you can apply to attend here.
Siya Xuza, a friend of ALN, spoke of his journey from the small town of Mtata in South Africa to Harvard College