The 21st Annual African Business Conference “[united] talented and empowering Africans from all over … truly representing the diversity of the continent,” Hersheena Rajaram’19 observed as a participant, along with Fiker Haile ’19, at the event held at Harvard Business School. The conference theme, “Africa Forward: Forging New Alliances for the Future,” brought more than 1,000 attendees from the African continent and the diaspora together in lectures and interactive panel discussions. Haile is from Ethiopia and Rajaram is from Mauritius. The event was held between February 15 - 16.
The conference offered students and young professionals opportunities to expand their understanding of business in Africa and their professional networks with current and future African business leaders. It highlighted Africa-based companies making a difference in the continent today. Selected panel sessions included: “The Future of Fintech in Africa”, “Africa’s Infrastructure”, “Private Equity in Africa”, “Universal Health Coverage in Africa”, and - attendees favorite -“The Music Business in Africa.” The conference also included a new venture competition which showcased diverse and innovative business models in Africa and a career fair for attendees interested in networking and/or interviewing with sponsor companies including the Boston Consulting Group, McKinsey & Co., MIT Legatum Center, Unilever, and Zeepay among many others.
Participants had the opportunity to supplement their economics knowledge and career aspirations with strategies on the development of African countries and economic relationships among member countries. Rajaram ‘19 and Haile expressed gratitude for the opportunity to attend the conference made possible through the support of the Kirkland Travel Fund and the Renyi Leadership Fund.