The premiere edition of the Legacy Global Summit organised by Legacy Premier Foundation held on the 5th and 6th of November 2020. The virtual event hosted business leaders, investors, educators and distinguished men and women from different sectors and works of life as they shared practical insights on several topics.
The conference, through panel discussions and plenary sessions, focused on nurturing and strengthening long term business relationships between US and Africa, opening up channels of sustainable business opportunities, supporting growing African businesses, fostering mutual business interests, and building a formidable ecosystem of trade and investment, that will enhance ease of doing business between the United States and Africa.
Day 1, Thursday 5th Nov. 2020
The event kicked off with the opening remark by Dr. Remi Duyile, Founder of the Legacy Premier Foundation and the convener of the conference. She stated the importance of intergenerational collaboration and partnership and how the future of Africa must be preserved. She spoke about her faith in the future of Africa and highlighted the possibilities of greater outcomes as regards to trade and investment in Africa.
Special remarks to the six continent participants was followed by John C. Wobensmith, Secretary of State of Maryland , USA
The opening remark was followed with a brief orientation of the virtual teleconferencing platform by Dr Wendy Brisley Executive Director of M3Linked , and a SUPER networking session by Dr. Richard Kaye from CEO space International.
Brian Castleberry, the Regional Manager – Middle East, Africa & India Office of International Investment and Trade moderated the first panel session titled “Doing Business In The UAE” which had business personalities from Dubai – Sheikha Abdulla AlNuaimi, Executive Director of Marketing and Sales Ajman Free Trade Zone UAE and Arshi Zaveri, CEO TrustwithTrade Group as panelists.
They highlighted the possibilities of doing business in the UAE and also mentioned that there are no barriers to foreign investments from diverse sectors. Sheikha Abdulla AlNuaimi pointed out that the creation of the free trade zone has become one of the biggest drivers for business growth in the UAE. In response to the question of gender inclusion in the business community of the UAE, Arshi Zaveri stated that the leadership of the UAE has ensured that women-owned businesses are supported and women are welcomed even in executive positions.
The second panel session ‘Access to capital’ was moderated by Jeannine Scott, the Founder and Principal of America to Africa Consulting, LLC (A2A). The panelists were: Alan Beard, Roshanda Johnson – Business Development Specialist US International Development Finance Corporation Brian Castleberry, Nicole Woods – Business Development Expert Export-Import Bank of the United States and Femi Akinrebiyo – Global Manager, Upstream manufacturing Agribusiness and services IFC
The discussion was centered around the issues faced by SMEs as regards getting capital for their business or projects.The essence of capacity building for business owners was also discussed in order for businesses to measure up to the requirements of financing institutions.
One of the panelists, Alan Beard, from Interlinks spoke about how important it is for business owners to have high quality financial statements before seeking capital.
Femi Akinrebiyo, global manager IFC enjoined entrepreneurs to know where to go in order to get capital or funds. He mentioned that every financial Institution has specifics, as regards what kind of idea or project they invest in.
Nicole Woods, a business development expert spoke about the role relationships and partnerships play in giving entrepreneurs access to real opportunities. She advised business owners to have a good plan and strategy before meeting with any investor or financial institution.
Rashanda Johnson from DFC stated the willingness of the dfc towards entrepreneurs to scale their business or project.
Jeannine Scott concluded by saying that the ability to be flexible and to move quickly is very important for business success.
The third panel, titled ‘Doing Business in Africa’ was moderated by the Chief Commercial Officer of Mixta Africa, Rolake Akinugbe-Filani. The panelists included: Dipo Adesina, Dr. Olawanle Akinboboye, Esther Dassanou, Hon. Idris Mohammad, and Gregory Simpkins.
The discussion centered on the importance of good government policies and how it affects the flow of business transactions. Each speaker shared their thoughts on the question asked – ‘Is Africa still a choice destination for doing business?’
Esther Dassanou highlighted the fact that Africa has the largest percentage of women entrepreneurs and business owners and she believes Africa is still a choice destination for doing business with opportunities, waiting to be explored.
Dipo Adesina, a serial entrepreneur envisaged the population strength of Africa (which is 1.2 billion people) as a pointer that Africa is still a choice destination for business. He also mentioned that entrepreneurs must continue to look at which continent is constantly growing in population so as to understand where to invest.
Dr. Akinboboye, a business leader in the tourism industry took a step by step approach to highlight the fact that Africa has a 30.2 million square kilometer area with a population of 1.2 billion people.He made his point clear that with all Africa has, Africa is still a choice destination for doing business.
Gregory Simpkins also shared insights on the goal of AGOA to increase Intra-Africa trade, and connect business people together. He mentioned that one of the benefits was the creation of scale.
In between the panelists were standalone global impact thought leaders and influencers such as Dr Arikana Chihombori-Quao , Max Sutherland and Delegate Darryl Barnes who spoke and moved people to action.
The “Public-private-partnership: A Fundamental Key To Developmental Growth” panel session engaged participants and co-speakers on the wide range of discussions, from international public-private partnerships to foreign investments in the African continent. Moderated by Shavon Smith, Principal, the SJS Law Firm, the session was an eye-opener to foreign partnerships and global business opportunities available for African business owners, as well as possible limitations. The panelist drove their points home by highlighting a few key factors influencing the Public-private-partnership ecosystem globally, amongst which are local and international policies, leadership, market accessibility, local talent and public perception.
Special remarks were also made by the State Attorney for Prince George’s County, Aisha N. Braveboy, the U.S. Representative for Maryland’s 4th Congressional District, Congressman Anthony Brown and Honorable Darryl Barnes, the Representative of the 25th Legislative District in the Maryland House of Delegates.
Friday, 6th November 2020
The second day of the event kicked off with a presentation on ‘Sustainable Ecosystem for African businesses’ by Guest Speaker Otunba Bimbola Ashiru, former Commissioner of Commerce and Industry and Director of O’DUA Investment Company Limited
He highlighted the potentials of the African market and laid emphasis on the fact that Africa is recognized as the next business hub waiting to be harnessed. “A bright light shines on the African tech ecosystem” said Otunba Bimbola.
The event continued with a Guest session anchored by as Dr Menna Demessie who spoke on the topic “Leveraging Policy and Policymakers for International Trade Relations”. Dr Menna extensively impressed the need for business owners, particularly the locals to get accustomed to the policies and laws – local, state, federal and international – that would help facilitate ease of doing business.
Hon. Aisha Braveboy
Honorable Aisha Braveboy, earlier in the event, gave a special remark acknowledging the great work done by Dr Remi Duyile, the convener of the program. She expressed in joy in the vision of the Summit, wholeheartedly, and appreciated the Speakers and participants who availed themselves on that day. Honorable Aisha also anchored the graduation ceremony of the HERISE Global Internship program.
The first panel for the day came up shortly after Dr Menna’s session. Tagged “Going Global: Understanding International Trade and Development,” the session featured Global thought leaders from various works of life namely; Tisa Clark, President, J.D. Clark Professional Services, L.L.C. (JD Clark); Don Williams, President and CEO of Princeton Healthcare International; Dr Kamaladevi Baskaran, Head of Industry Relations & Faculty, Department of Management & Commerce, Amity University, Dubai; Denise Cortês-Keyser, Entrepreneur, Motivational speaker, Finance and Investments Adviser Founder, DCK GLOBAL. Dr Kavita Kapur, an Assistant Professor at the College of Business, Bowie State University moderated the session.
The panel discussions was deeply engaging, as conversations centered on cross-disciplinary collaborations and partnerships, exploring global talent exchange, international trade processes and attracting the right investments/investors.
Mrs Toyin Sanni, CEO, Emerging Africa Capital spoke on the “Women Empowerment through Trade and Investment” She approached the topic keenly from her experience as a Financial Markets Expert and Gender Leader. Mrs Toyin, during her session, highlighted the importance of creating opportunities for women, as they are responsible to many grass root business establishments on the African continent. She went further to propose key solutions that could help promote gender empowerment and parity across the continent. Education, easy access to funding, and promotion of gender equality were some of the key solutions she mentioned, with the promotion of gender equality on the very top of that list.
Afterwards, Denise Cortês-Keyser gave an expose on The African Union’s African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) uncovering key details on the scope of the agreement. She touched on historical data, the vision of the trade agreement which is to allow free access to commodities, goods, and services across the continent; and the current number of countries who have both signed and approved ratification of the AfCFTA Agreement – which currently stands at 30 countries, as at the time of her session. Denise stated 2 major issues posing as bulwarks to the AFCFTA. Issues such as unified trade policies and markets, cultural gaps, and manufacturing pose a great challenge to the implementation of the agreement. She further suggested seven namely: trade finance, trade facilitation, and trade policy, trade related infrastructure, trade information, productive capacities, and a factor market integration.
Victory Oluwasegun, CIO of Jamborow and COO/Co-founder of SpringPort Technologies moderated the next panel session ‘Generational Bridge-Building for Emerging Leaders and Entrepreneurs’ with panel members: Josephine Agbeko, Dayo Israel and Lara Abiona.
They addressed critical issues that stand as barriers between different generations. They highlighted the fact that all generations have something to offer and more would be achieved if each generation can leverage their strengths, and collaborate instead of compete.
In response to a question on the challenges of intergenerational gap, Josephine Agbeko described the younger generation as a set of people who will always ask “why” and sometimes such characteristics might be in contrast with the perception and attitude of the older generation and vice versa. She affirmed the importance of collaboration between generations. Lara Abiona also affirmed that the younger generation are willing to provide answers for their future. Victory Oluwasegun chimed in with the phrase ‘In the long run it’s not what we do that matters but why’.
The ‘Diplomatic Round table session’ followed immediately, anchored by Dr. Lawrence Mcneil the Dean of Bowie University. The panel members were Lawrence Manzi, Amb. Pradeep K Kapur, and Kayode Alabi.
Amb. Kapur, while speaking on trade and investment stated the impact Africans in Diaspora can have on Africa if they decide to build and invest in Africa. He acknowledged the achievements of Africans in Diaspora in different sectors and suggested that it’s important that Africans in Diaspora begin to create a legacy in Africa as their heritage.
Also Mr. Lawrence Manzi highlighted 3 pillars responsible for the growth of Rwanda – Unity as a people, Accountability and thinking big.
Mr. Kayode talked about the efforts made by the Kwara State Government in Nigeria as regards trade and investment in different sectors
The last panel session was titled ‘Entertainment: Tool for Nation Building’. The session was moderated by Kemi Ajumobi with Rozina Negusei and Audi Maikori as panelists
During the session the successes and achievements of the entertainment industry in Africa and the global impact was highlighted.
Audu Maikori talked about how African content enjoys more streaming and downloads from international audiences.
Rozina Negusei also mentioned that African entertainment is now the best next thing after playing soccer drawing the attention of music lovers worldwide.
The two-day event ended with an Award session, launch of the ‘Legacy Colossus Coaching for women and also the ‘Legacy Global Network’ – a platform to connect global entrepreneurs and business leaders that will serve as an engine of growth for emerging leaders.
The summit will ultimately impact business interactions between nations, creating a bridge for investors and entrepreneurs to meet and create innovative value. The 2021 edition is scheduled to hold in the UAE.
Lami, Kenya-based Insurtech secures $1.8 million to accelerate digital insurance in Africa
Lami team and press release (Source: Eva Barasa/Lami Tech/medium)
Lami Technologies, a Kenyan insurance technology (insurtech) company that aims to democratize insurance products and services for low-income Kenyans, announced today it had raised $1.8 million in seed funding.
The round was led by Accion Venture Lab’s seed-stage investment initiative that provides capital and extensive support to innovative fintech startups that improve the reach, quality, and affordability of financial services for the underserved.
Founded by Jihan Abass in 2018, Lami is a digital insurance platform that enables partner businesses — including banks, tech companies, and other entities to easily and seamlessly offer digital insurance products to their users via its API. Lami can also be used by partner businesses to manage their own insurance needs. Lami connects partner organizations, such as the e-commerce platform Jumia, with underwriters and allows them to offer a superior customer journey. Through its API, users can get a quotation for motor, medical, or other tailored insurance products in seconds, then customize the benefits and adjust the premium to suit their needs, get their policy documents instantly, and claims are paid in record time.
Lami’s services are enabled by its flexible insurance rating engine and direct integration with several parties and insurance companies. Lami co-designs innovative products with its underwriting partners to enable businesses to offer unique insurance products to their underlying customer base, with flexible options that meet their needs and cash flows, such as monthly medical policies for startup employees.
Jihan Abass, CEO & Founder of Lami (Source: Eva Barasa/Lami Tech/medium)
Jihan Abass, CEO, Lami, said: “This funding will allow us to invest in hiring more people, improving our technology, and growing our presence across Africa as we can continue to address the persistent insurance gap. At Lami, our vision is to help improve the financial resilience of millions by making insurance products more accessible and affordable for underserved populations. By enabling our business partners to offer customized insurance solutions, we are helping them provide more value to their customers while enabling large volumes of users to access insurance, often for the first time.”
Africa’s insurance market currently stands at a 3 percent penetration rate, except for South Africa, and is facing modernization and innovation challenges. Most insurance providers on the continent fail to offer flexible, affordable and tailored insurance coverage to provide a safety net for the African consumer. Low insurance uptake is partly due to the traditional distribution and administration of policies, mainly relying on brick-and-mortar channels where policies are sold and processed manually. This results in a longer processing cycle, poor customer satisfaction, and higher distribution costs.
Lami’s digital insurance platform leverages cloud computing, automation, and third-party service providers such as emergency and valuation, or identity and asset verification databases, to offer a comprehensive ecosystem for the businesses they partner with to develop, distribute and manage highly streamlined and competitive insurance products that are designed to meet their customers’ needs.
Since its inception, the insurtech startup has sold more than 5,000 policies and has partnered with more than 25 active underwriters, including Britam, Pioneer, and Madison Insurance, distributing more than 30 products available including medical, motor, employee benefits, and device insurance. As an innovator in the digital insurance space, Lami aims to continue diversifying its business by looking for new partners and building on its core technology.
Michael Schlein, President and CEO, Accion Venture Lab, said: “Ninety-seven percent of Africans lack access to insurance — a financial safety net that can help them build resilience against economic shocks. Lami helps address this need for consumers across Africa through its innovative approach that leverages technology and partnerships to help any business develop and sell insurance.”
“At Accion Venture Lab, we’re excited by how Lami is using technology to create a pathway for customers to purchase insurance that is specific to their needs. By embedding customized insurance within businesses that customers know and trust, Lami is making insurance accessible for underserved populations in Africa and enabling them to build financial resilience. “said Ashley Lewis, Africa Director, Accion Venture Lab
This investment highlights the strong commitment of all organizations to ensuring that financial services are made accessible and affordable for the underserved.
InnoPower Partners with Business Africa Online to Host Going Global Summit 2021
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – InnoPower LLC (InnoPower) and Business Africa Online (BAO) will host the Going Global Summit during the 2021 Minority Business Week presented by Eleven Fifty Academy and JPMorgan Chase, to be held June 14 – 18, 2021.
Africa is a fascinating continent. The old narrative of Africa disconnected from the global economy is fading. A wave of transformation driven by business and modernization is thrusting the continent from the world’s margins to the worldwide mainstream. There is tremendous promise in the dynamism and ingenuity of Africa’s entrepreneurs. The region’s abundant world-class innovation and talent are increasingly being harnessed to improve lives and generate wealth.
InnoPower is working to develop a stronger pipeline of awareness and access to Africa’s talent and solutions, especially in Nigeria and the West Africa region.
InnoPower’s partnership with BAO aims to develop a more robust pipeline of awareness and access to Africa’s talent and solutions, focused in three areas:
- ENTREPRENEURSHIP: providing African entrepreneurs with access to resources, training, and finance.
- CONNECTIONS: by introducing US-based businesses and service providers to Africa innovators.
- ADVOCACY: increasing the viability of Africa as a region for economic development partnership.
InnoPower is an Indianapolis-based company deliberately designed to highlight the innovations in and for Black communities, create opportunities for capacity building, and provide a platform for creative thought and innovative entrepreneurialism. BAO supports and aligns with the movement. The two organizations have come together to be the change they want to see globally, especially in the entrepreneurial ecosystem and the development and growth of Africa.
“It has only been about 60 years since Blacks across the United States and Africa were provided with true independence. The U.S. with the Civil Rights Movement and Africa with the end of rule by British, French, and other European colonizers. Across the globe, Africans are now competing in the global innovation economy while still embracing the uniqueness of our culture, environment, and resources. But there is still a lot of work to be done to close the gaps created by centuries of oppression. We are excited that we can be a part of sparking and nurturing this movement. Our partnership with BAO gives a bigger voice to the work that still must be done,” said Emil Ekiyor, Founder and CEO of InnoPower.
“Our team is thrilled to be working with InnoPower on the Going Global Summit 2021. BAO is at the forefront of powering the entrepreneurial mindset and enabling businesses in Africa. We are inspired and motivated every day by the incredible African innovators within our community and their desire to impact the world positively. By partnering with InnoPower, we are now focused on connecting Africa’s entrepreneurs and businesses with US-based investors and businesses,” added Alaba Ayinuola, Founder & CEO of Business Africa Online (BAO).
InnoPower’s 2021 Minority Business Week presented by Eleven Fifty Academy and JPMorgan Chase will be held Monday, June 14 through Friday, June 18, 2021. The Going Global Summit will be held on Friday, June 18, 2021. Both events will be held virtually, and registration is free. For more information, please visit bit.ly/InnoPowerGoingGlobal2021
Mastercard and Kasha Reinforce Commitment to Empower Women and Support Micro-Entrepreneurs in Africa
Mastercard today expanded its relationship with Kasha Global Incorporated through an investment in the purpose driven ecommerce platform. The companies will continue their shared efforts to ensure women across emerging markets have essential access to health and personal care products along with the information required to support everyday hygiene needs.
Combining online and offline capabilities, Kasha’s platform allows women across rural and urban locations to make confidential personal care orders. By utilizing the full product catalogue available online, or by placing orders using basic mobile handsets, women can search, order and pay for hygiene products that are discretely delivered to them by local micro-entrepreneurs, thus also helping local store owners grow their business.
Mastercard’s investment is the next step on a journey the organizations have been on since Kasha joined Mastercard StartPath in 2019. Since joining the award winning start-up engagement program, Mastercard has worked with Kasha to integrate digital payment acceptance across its ecommerce platform, and most recently the partners joined forces to deliver virus, hygiene and protection products to families across Kenya in efforts to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
“Kasha’s goal is to ensure women in emerging markets get the products, information and services they need for their health, self-care and well-being” said, Joanna Bichsel, Kasha’s Founder and CEO “I am thrilled that we are continuing our collaboration with Mastercard and that we not only have a committed investor with shared values, but also an innovative partner as we continue to take Kasha’s development and growth to the next level.”
Mastercard’s activities with Kasha directly support the company’s pledge to bring 1 billion people and 50 million micro and small businesses into the digital economy by 2025, with a direct focus on providing 25 million women entrepreneurs with solutions to help them grow their business.
“Mastercard works with governments, businesses and entrepreneurs to help them achieve their ambitions and is committed to applying its resources to drive sustainable and inclusive growth.” said, Raghav Prasad, Division President, Sub Saharan Africa, Mastercard. “Through our activities with Kasha we are leveraging Mastercard’s innovations, expertise and partnerships to help drive the empowerment of women and small businesses. This partnership is a major step in our journey to support the fundamental needs of women and drive growth across African communities.”
Mastercard’s investment will help Kasha expand its current platform offering, reaching more women, communities and small businesses than before and build’s on Mastercard’s efforts to bolster support for micro-entrepreneur and women owned small business in Africa through the Mastercard Track Micro Credit Program, known in Kenya as “Jaza Duka” (fill up your store in Swahili). By leveraging Mastercard and Kasha’s combined capabilities, in collaboration with global consumer goods and banking partners, the partners aim to positively impact historically underserved communities across Africa and beyond.