The event, organised by African Peoples Advocacy in collaboration with the Association for African Owned Enterprises and the Centre of African Studies, proved extremely popular. The guests, who braved the disruptions and delays caused by the general strike, were so numerous that extra chairs had to be found to accommodate everybody. Mr Christian Udechukwu, Managing Director of BusinessinAfrica Events and Adviser to the African Peoples Advocacy (APA), welcomed the attendees.
Report of the Event Pitching Africa: Bringing together African artists, entrepreneurs and leaders with philanthropists and investors
Held on 30th November 2011, Brunei Gallery Suite, SOAS, Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London WC1H 0XG, 6.30pm -8.00pm
The guests included Her Highness Princess Nauf Bendar Al Saud (1), member of the Saudi Royal Family, His Excellency Mr Carlos dos Santos, Mozambique High Commissioner, Mr Rehman Chishti, MP for Gillingham and Rainham, Ms Sara Lemniei-Khouli (BMCE Bank International) Mr James E Brathwaite CBE (Chairman of ME Afriqiyah), Mr David Smith (Chairman of British African Business Alliance), Ms Shanti Mehta (Uniting for Peace), Mr Daniel Ross (Crownmark Company) Dr Sheriff Alabi (Managing Director of Savannah Enterprise Development) Mr Len Tiahlo (Founder of the Somaliland Development Corporation), and many other representatives from the worlds of business, media, academia, non governmental sector, politics, arts and entertainment. The event was brilliantly chaired by Mr Henry Bonsu, Journalist, Director and Co-founder of Colourful Radio. His warmth, outstanding professionalism and humour, kept the guests entertained throughout the evening.
After the broadcating of the promotional video of the Pitching Africa Documentary, Ms Sylvie Aboa-Bradwell (2), Founder and Executive Director of the African Peoples Advocacy, delivered the keynote speech.
In her intervention, she encouraged potential investors, philanthropists and partners to be open-minded, and eager to explore and back new ideas that could lead to the development of Africa and African communities worldwide. A wide variety of such new ideas may be found amongst the individuals of African descent participating in the Pitching Africa Documentary. They include the talented Painter and Sculptor Mbeng Pouka, whose ambition is to exhibit his art all over the world; Hannah Kumi, editor of the magazine African Dream who needs financial support to put her business on a sustainable footing; the IT expert Paschal Ekeigwe, who plans to teach robotics throughout Africa; businesswoman Nishi Agrawal whose ambition is to nurture the business management skills of graduates in Tanzania and other African countries; Sian Mafiamba, who plans to improve dental care in Cameroon and other African nations, and the model, actor and singer Julian Sandi who needs a platform that will enable his talent to blossom. Ms Aboa-Bradwell ended her address by stressing the need for collaboration and partnership.
The event, organised by African Peoples Advocacy in collaboration with the Association for African Owned Enterprises and the Centre of African Studies, proved extremely popular.
The next speaker was Mr Washington Kapapiro (3), Chairman of the Association for African Owned Enterprises. He began by introducing the Association for African Owned Enterprises (AAOE). AAOE was created in 2006 to serve as a representative for businesses owned, directed by, and/ or serving, the African corporate community and individual African professionals in the UK. Mr Kapapiro then highlighted the fact that the UK boasts a population of over 5.5 million Africans involved with Africa through family ties, business or general sense of belonging. He stressed that enterprises and businesses have an important role to play in terms of tackling social problems and generating development. Mr Kapapiro then urged investors, philanthropists and business people to invest in the excellent ideas of the Pitching Africa Documentary candidates. He concluded his intervention by pledging his contribution towards the success of the documentary by coaching the candidates to improve their business, presentation and other skills.
Mr Vijay Mehta (4), Founder Trustee of the Fortune Forum Charity, spoke next. In his intervention, Mr Mehta highlighted how entrepreneurship and investors can set the scene for road to prosperity for the African continent. Africa, he stressed, does not require aid, but trade justice, debt cancellation and more and better trade regulations from the world’s richest countries. The model for the development of Africa should be
East and South-East Asian states, that have managed to develop and diversify their economies. Mr Mehta concluded his speech with a moving endorsement of the Pitching Africa Documentary project: “Pitching Africa is an excellent idea and is one of the best ways to get entrepreneurs and philanthropists together for the much needed development of the African continent. This initiative can bring hope and progress to today’s and the next generation’s tycoons who with little assistance can be the industrialists of the world tomorrow,” he said.
The Filmmaker Colin Izod (5), Managing Director of Big Heart Media and Director of the Pitching Africa Documentary, narrated the genesis of his involvement in the Pitching Africa project. He was very excited when Ms Sylvie Aboa-Bradwell proposed following African Peoples Advocacy and a group of inviduals of African descent as they attempt to convince investors and philanthropists to back their ideas. The different characters, with their various ideas and personalities, are very fascinating, and will most certainly endear themselves to British, African and other audiences.
The painter, sculptor and Pitching Africa candidate, Mbeng Pouka, briefly outlined his vision. Through his art, he aims to present a positive, new image of Africa, and seeks to highlight the common humanity of all people. After his intervention, there was a broadcating of his outstanding works.
Following the speeches and the showcasing of the works of Mr Mbeng Pouka, there was a brief question and answer session, and comments from the audience. Several guests, including Mr David Smith, Ms Lulu Todd of the Somaliland Development Corporation, Rehman Chishti MP, Mr Daniel Ross, Mr James Brathwaite CBE, and the High Commissioner of Mozambique, promised to support the Pitching African Documentary project. The event concluded with a networking session.
The 30th November briefing has already yielded very positive results. APA has started collaborating with the office of Her Highness Princess Nauf Bendar Al Saud, to organise a high profile Africa Day Gala on 25th May 2012. All Pitching Africa candidates have been given the opportunity to submit their projects to the December 2011 Pipeline issue of the British African Business Alliance. Leading members of the African Diaspora who attended the Pitching Africa briefing joined Mr Henry Bonsu and Ms Sylvie Aboa-Bradwell on 12th December to speak on behalf of the African Diaspora at an All Party Group on Race and Community at the UK Parliament (6-9).
Report compiled by Carole Fuentes Essola, Research and Admin Assistant, African Peoples Advocacy.