Increasing the leadership potential of African talent and leveraging technology to spur innovation in some of the fastest growing career sectors in Africa are key drivers in solving the continent’s skills gap and boosting economic growth, according to several panelists at The Africa-America Institute’s Second Annual Talent Summit, at New York City’s Baruch College.
“Leadership is everything,” said Adeyemi Adewole, Managing Director and CEO of Adcem Healthcare Ltd. during a panel discussion on “Emerging Opportunities: Why The Healthcare Sector Should Be On Your Career Radar”. “Solutions will not come from simple ways of looking at things.”
Adewole, an alumnus of AAI’s Transformational Leadership Program (TLP), emphasized that Africa must develop new leadership and innovative approaches to move the continent forward in addressing critical issues such as health care.
“You cannot lead without leaders,” agreed Sylvain Saluseke, Managing Director of Global Access Health Network. Saluseke, a native of in the Democratic Republic of Congo, evaluates the level of medical care for top international corporations in African countries.
There are fewer health care professionals to manage health care systems in Africa compared to other regions in the world. More than 5000 Nigerian doctors are currently practicing medicine outside of Nigeria, Adewole acknowledged, while Nigeria’s medical facilities remain under-staffed and -resourced.
“Come back and manage these places,” he said of health care facilities in Africa, challenging African medical professionals living abroad to return to their home country to strengthen health care systems.
Innovators from the African diaspora in the technology sector gave Talent Summit attendees an insider look into enormous potential for technology and innovation in Africa.
Anie Akpe, CEO/Publisher of Innov8tiv Magazine, an online source for technology news, resources and innovation, said the African continent is a “huge consumer market”. “There is money to be made,” Akpe said.
Africans in the diaspora understand the market and will not rush in and then leave, Akpe said, but instead make investments for the long term.
Chinedu O.P. Enekwe II, Tiphub Africa’s Co-Founder & Executive Director, said the government sector is ripe with opportunities for technology entrepreneurs. “The government market is still using paper,” said Enekwe, adding that in Nigeria, for example, a tiny percentage of government workers use the government email system. He said local entrepreneurs who understand the challenges can step in to provide technology solutions and services.
Diasporans are developing technology solutions to serve both the U.S. and African markets. Meck Khalfan, co-founder and CEO, Puku LLC, created portable chargers for mobile devices that can be used anywhere in the world. “You need to make your product global from the beginning,” said Khalfan.
During a fireside chat with AAI President Amini Kajunju, author and journalist Dayo Olopade drew attention to the tremendous innovations taking place across the African continent from her newly-released book, The Bright Continent: Breaking Rules and Making Change in Modern Africa.
As Africans in the Diaspora increasingly consider returning home after living abroad, a panel of expatriates and repatriates gave advice on making a successful transition to working in Africa.
African Diasporans are one of the most educated and employable immigrant populations in the U.S. Michel Kabano, Global Talent Recruitment Manager for the African Diaspora at General Electric (GE) Africa spoke to potential job candidates about employment opportunities with GE in the U.S and African countries.
The Talent Summit officially launched Talent Central, a one-stop online site on AAI’s website featuring a jobs board, career-oriented tips and tools, blogs and resources to help connect organizations with the African Diaspora ready to transition back to the continent.
Amanuel Assefa was announced as the winner of a roundtrip airline ticket giveaway to destinations in Africa served by Arik Air.
The Talent Summit was co-sponsored by General Electric (GE) Africa and Arik Air. Summit Media Partners were Face2Face Africa, Africa.com, and Applause Africa.
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