For the first part of my trip I took part in the Solutions Summit, the biggest gathering of Schwab Social Entrepreneurs in the last four years. They are the world’s largest network of late stage social entrepreneurs counting over 400 members. There were about 150 members at the gathering and the topic under discussion was ‘Scaling Up What Works’. It was a great to speak to like-minded people and I ran a session on scaling up and replication attended by 50 members receiving lots of interest from entrepreneurs seeking to scale up their proven programmes.
There were a lot of highlights for ‘Schwabbies’ (as Schwab Social Entrepreneurs often refer to themselves). To name a few:
- B-Fit, who have over 400 franchisees doing fitness and community work across Turkey;
- Spending time with Christie Peacock founder of Sidai, they have over 100 franchisees providing quality livestock services across Kenya;
- Hearing about the Schwab Foundation, from Katherine Milligan their CEO.
The second half of my week was spent at the World Economic Forum Africa itself.
The Forum is a chance for leaders of state, politicians and corporates across Africa to meet and work together.
I met the President of Zimbabwe Robert Mugabe and President of South Africa Jacob Zuma, both key players in the Emerging African Story. We had a session with 30 fellows and the new South African Minister of Finance (Previous Minister of Home Affairs and Minister of Public Enterprise), Malusi Gigaba. Together we had a fascinating conversation about his plans for improving the finances of South Africa.
As always, the highlights for me involved individuals and the relationships I grew and developed throughout the event. I spent hours talking with Lindiwe Mazibuko about her experiences being the parliamentary leader of the opposition party in South Africa and the toll it took on her, as well as her future plans.
I was blown away talking with Victor Ochen about his background as a refugee in Uganda and how he overcame great odds to build the African Youth Initiative Network. He’s now putting pressure on the government to create change.
The WEF Africa was an in-depth, heartfelt and expert update on Africa, and I have lots of ideas on how the work we do at the ICSF can contribute.
Need more food for thought? Many of the conference’s talks are available online.