April 2015 | Talking Points From The 5th Annual MIT Sloan Africa Innovate Conference – Developing Africa’s Next Big Ideas!

Posted April 12, 2015 by Ugandan Diaspora News Team in Events ~ 10,094 views



By Ronnie Mayanja — On Saturday, April 4th I had the rare opportunity to be invited as one of the media partners for the 5th annual MIT Sloan Africa Innovate Conference at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The conference now in its 5th year brought together industry professionals, Chief Executive Officers and government officials from across Africa to address some of the continent’s most pressing business issues at the world-renowned MIT Media Lab.

Some of the Keynote speakers this year included. Mostafa Terrab, Chairman and CEO, Office Chérifien des Phosphates (OCP Group), Arnold Ekpe, Chairman, Atlas Mara, Ezekiel Odiogo, Principal Investment Officer, African Development Bank, Dr. Kamal Bhattacharya, Vice President, IBM Research – Africa, Tendai Mashingaidze, Co-Founder, Ubuntu Equity, Ramamurthy Thiagarajan, Regional Strategy and Operations Director, Nakumatt Holdings. 


Among the discussions were panels that discussed topics that included — Connecting the Continent: What developments in the technology space will lead the charge in fostering innovation in the continent? What are the opportunities for radical breakthroughs within the world of mobile, web, big data, health, and finance among others?

Other topics included — The Next Generation of Entrepreneurs: What innovations address the nuances of the African entrepreneur? What are the key drivers that will enable the current crop of entrepreneurs to fulfill their aspirations and benefit the continent at large?

And final panel discussed — Building the African Supply Chain: Disruption and trans-formative ideas – The African Supply Chain 2.0. What innovations will enable companies to build deep delivery channels within a country and across the continent, reaping the benefits of a more unified consumer base?

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Overall the event touched on several aspects including Africa’s global influence given our untapped potential and economic growth rate. Some of the speakers also touched on the need for big banks to finance development on the continent as opposed to Micro financial institutions.

The growth in mobile money and social media was also lauded as a means to bring about long lasting change since Africa is still bedeviled with infrastructure challenges. The Africa Innovate Conference is definite a great networking opportunity companies looking to recruit the best innovative minds on the continent given the broad representation of both college and business entities that attend.

A special vote of thanks to the organizers and the Africa Business Club for putting up this great annual event. However there is a need to see a more broad regional representation of AFRICA and all its people especially East, Central and Southern Africa as opposed to West African dominance and reliance on foreign speakers!

About the Author

Ugandan Diaspora News Team

Ugandan Diaspora News Online is an independent, non political news portal primarily aimed at serving Ugandans who work and reside outside Uganda. Our aim is to be a one stop shop for everything Ugandan and the celebration of our Ugandan heritage.



    Hmmm Yes, where are the indigenous Africans at big Africa related events. We need African brains discussing African resources at affordable and accessible African venues too many in South Africa and west at toooo exclusive prices by foreign investors targeting investors!


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