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On Wednesday 28 November, the University Centre for Development Cooperation (UCOS) is organising a seminar and debate in the Brussels temple of culture BOZAR on entrepreneurship in Africa. This time, the speakers are business leaders rather than the usual supsects for an event like this. “Our development aid models turned out to be incomplete,” says Frank Verstraeten, coordinator of UCOS. “Looking back, it is clear that investment and entrepreneurship are important drivers of change as well. With the seminar we want to give the floor to people who argue for it.”
Africa is now hot for big business. In countries such as Kenya, Uganda and Nigeria, a new generation of very talented people is rising up. As recent as a couple of weeks ago, UK Prime minister Theresa May, on a visit through Africa, promoted British investments and joint ventures. Prior to that, China invited all African heads of state to Beijing to further promote their investments in the continent.
One should ask, who really benefits? Furthermore, what is Europe’s policy in this regard? What kind of entrepreneurship is sustainable? “The new vision on development is a win-win for all parties. With the current geopolitical reality, we have to be careful that Europe does not allow itself to be taken for a ride,” says Verstraeten. “In the Matonge district of Brussels, too, hundreds of Belgian Africans are eager to do business. But where are the economics and business students in this story? We want to awaken young, enterprising people from here to the opportunities that lie ahead in Africa. Provided that social implications are taken into account, a nice story can be written. The great interest in Wednesday’s seminar is a good start.”
Entrepreneurship in Africa: who really profits?
Seminar and debate – Wednesday 28 November – BOZAR
Organised by UCOS, supported by Afropreneur Belgium.
- Karel Uyttendaele, current coordinator of the programme Circular Migration for African higher educated.
- Uzoamaka Madu, founder of an online communications platform dedicated to EU-Africa current affairs – What’s in it for Africa.
- Khadijat Abdulkadir, founder of Digital African Woman, a social enterprise that supports youth and women-led businesses across Africa and diaspora through active Digital training and business engineering.
- Nikolay Dentchev, professor of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the Solvay Business School of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel.
- Prof. Dr. Patrick Develtere, Principal Adviser for European Social Policy at the European Political Strategy Centre (EPSC), the in-house think tank of the European Commission.
- Jean Bossuyt (Moderator), Head of Strategy of the European Centre for Development Policy Management.