About ADIS

African Diaspora Investment Symposium 2020 (ADIS2020)

is the fifth annual global convening of leaders, innovators, investors, and entrepreneurs who seek to uplift the African continent by building bridges among Africans, Diasporans, and friends of Africa. Located in Silicon Valley, the innovation and entrepreneurial capital of the world, the conference aims to inspire and empower participants to be agents of change and active contributors to Africa’s development. 


The flagship event, held annually in Santa Clara County, California, USA, convenes entrepreneurially-minded, Africa-focused high-level leaders and professionals from across the world for insightful dialogue around investment and innovation in Africa and partnership and mentorship opportunities. The symposium activates the potential of partnership, drawing over 1000 participants  from Africa, Europe, Canada, and the United States over its past four editions. 


The 2020 convening seeks to define an investment framework for Africa through workshops, panel discussions, fireside chats, and participant-driven design labs focused on designing streamlined and sustainable systems across the continent. With a key emphasis on harnessing the power of digitization, major themes include:

  • The Role of Government and Businesses to Create Private-Public Partnerships

  • Investment and Entrepreneurship to Build Thriving Communities in Africa

2020 Theme: “Defining an Investment Framework for Africa” 

According to the 2019 World Bank Doing Business report, smaller African economies are making huge strides. Mauritius ranks 20th on the “Ease of Doing Business” report card, as Sub-Saharan Africa stands as the most represented region among the top ten improvers with Kenya, Côte d’Ivoire, Rwanda and Djibouti. Rwanda rose a remarkable 11 places to 29th and is the only low-income economy ranked among the top 30 globally. This success is attributed to consistent reforms rooted in digitization. Digital solutions have eased pertinent processes of filing taxes, accessing tax-related paperwork, and property registration that have skyrocketed their economic progress. 

Contrary to the popular myth of entrepreneurship,  infrastructure and technology are the keys to Africa’s burgeoning business revolution. According to Mariana Mazzucato’s The Entrepreneurial State (2015) the economic success of the U.S. is the result of public and state-funded investments in innovation and technology, rather than a result of small-state, free market doctrine that often receives credit for the nation’s economic strength. In essence, Africa will thrive with a strategic investment framework that streamlines private-public partnerships, harnesses the potential of digitization, and establishes sustainable infrastructure toward  fruitful investments and entrepreneurial endeavors.

Wednesday, January 22
Builders of Africa's Future: Pitch Presentation Mentorship

 Thursday, January 23

Pre-ADIS Convening & Evening Launch Reception
Friday, January 24
Day One: Designing Streamlined & Sustainable Systems Across the Continent
Saturday, January 25
Day Two: Investment and Entrepreneurship to Build Thriving Communities in Africa

Builders of Africa's Future

Builders of Africa's Future: Pitch Presentation Mentorship
Wednesday, January 22

ADN offers a full-day workshop for the Builders of Africa's Future Awardees, hosted by eBay and the Miller Center for Entrepreneurship, Santa Clara University. The BAF2020 cohort will meet their mentors, practice pitches in preparation for the Saturday presentations, and participate in an evening fellows reception. 



Pre-ADIS Convening & Evening Launch Reception
Thursday, January 23

ADIS participants are invited to join our pre-ADIS convening! Attend our afternoon private meetings and events or take a tour of the Computer History Museum. Join us for an evening reception as we welcome participants to network over hor d’oeuvres, light refreshments, and live entertainment. Meet fellow attendees as we gather in community to celebrate the launch of ADIS2020 and our fifth annual Barka Awards ceremony.

Day One

Designing Streamlined & Sustainable Systems Across the Continent
Friday, January 24

The first day is designed to provide a space for dialogue on the role of governments and businesses to create private-public partnerships on sustainable infrastructure in the areas of finance, technology, energy, and innovation. 

Context Setter: Africa’s Ease of Doing Business Rankings & The Myth of Entrepreneurship.  

What best practices and principles are elevating African economies? What would it take for American investors to invest in Africa? Analyzing growing trends amidst the rise of smaller African economies, measurements based upon the ease of doing business indicate that streamlined and sustainable systems facilitated by digitization are key. How do we move past the myth of entrepreneurship toward infrastructures and technologies that will catalyze a business revolution in Africa? This context setter provides an overview of the challenges the continent faces as we consider approaches toward building a thriving Africa. 


Power Africa: Energy & Renewable Resources

According to USAID, two out of three people in sub-Saharan Africa lack access to electricity. How do we go beyond the grid to increase the number of people who have access to power? This session examines projects including Power Africa, launched in 2013, that leverage partnerships to achieve the effective implementation of clean energy systems and efficient electricity generation to millions of homes and businesses on the Continent. 


Digitizing Africa to Create Systems of Accountability & Transparency 

Digitization and innovation come hand in hand. In 2018, Kenya, Mozambique, Malawi, Rwanda, Uganda, and Senegal were recognized as “innovation achievers” by the Brookings Institute for having successfully harnessed technologies for economic development. This session explores the ways in which digitization has provided avenues toward systems of accountability and transparency, such as improving records through retail payments systems, boosting financial inclusion, particularly of women entrepreneurs, promoting sustainable business models, and improving revenue administration. 

Diaspora Remittances and Sustainable Development Agenda 2030

The World Bank estimates in 2018, Africans in the diaspora remitted $46USD billion. This figure reflects the magnitude by which Africans in the diaspora are participating in economic development of the continent. In addition, the figures reflecting levels of both education and economics show the latent potential of the African diaspora community for mobilizing greater human and capital assets in support of their home communities in Africa.   In this session, our speakers will discuss how remittances from Africans in the Diaspora is contributing to several of the SDG’s, the role of technology to transform markets, and the regulatory environment from the sending countries and the Continent.


Intra-Africa Payments Systems: Mobile Money and the Role of Technology

Transaction flows among Africa have transformed since the inception of mobile money. Removing major market barriers, cell phones and other digital technologies have been employed to streamline payments systems across the continent. How has the movement of financial flows across borders changed and expanded overtime? This session examines movement of financial flows and goods and how Africa may accelerate intra-regional trade within the Continent.


Day Two

Investment and Entrepreneurship to Build Thriving Communities in Africa
Saturday,  January 25

The second day builds upon day one to understand how a workable infrastructure can be applied to create thriving ecosystems in health care, agriculture, and education through investment and entrepreneurship.

Agriculture: Africa, the Breadbasket of the World

According to an analysis by McKinsey & Company, Africa’s agricultural footprint amasses 23% of the sub-Saharan region’s GDP, with more than 60% of the population being smallholder farmers. However, the potential of agriculture has yet to be fully tapped. How do we increase productivity through crops and livestock? This session digs into opportunities for growth among various countries across the Continent, accounting for factors such as supply and demand, land expansion, competition, and the role of government, investors, and development partners.


Education in Africa

With the expected population boom anticipated to double by 2050, Africa must look to its youth to hone talent and skills for its next generation of leaders and workforce. Education is widely recognized as the great equalizer, and entrepreneurs and innovators are leveraging new means of expanding and enriching education in Africa. Explore the challenges that educational organizations are addressing and how digitization and revolutionizing curriculum have become key steps to unlocking African potential and excellence.


Providing Access to Affordable and Quality Health Care in Africa

Public health care in Africa has faced numerous historical barriers ranging from a lack of funding to poor infrastructure. Across countries, the quality of health care varies vastly, but improvements in services are slowly budding in various regions. What best practices have been implemented to improve public and private health care systems, how does insurance vary per region, and how can treatment become more accessible? This session takes a look at case studies across African nations and what is being done to address challenges in infrastructure, doctors’ shortages, facilities, and quality of care on the continent. 


Builders of Africa’s Future Award Ceremony 

BAF serves to showcase and award entrepreneurs who are running early stage for-profit and not-for-profits that are addressing Africa’s unique needs through technology or differentiated business models. These unique needs are in health, education, energy, financial inclusion, gender inclusion, nutrition, commerce, industrial development, and other socio-economic good. Founders and executives of companies that meet the above description represent the stories we want the community to learn about developmental progress on the continent. These enterprises and their leaders are our builders.


Networking Reception


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Mountain View, CA

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© 2019 by African Diaspora Network.