Africa Together, run by the University’s African Society, hosted a range of speakers at the Cambridge Union for a programme which promised to reimagine Africa. Business in Africa Conference: Sustainable Growth in Times of Uncertainty, held at the Judge Business School, looked at how Africa was no longer just a land of opportunity, but a region full of success stories.
Speaking at Africa Together, Nungari Mwangi, President of the African Society noted that The African Union has declared 2015 to be the year of women’s empowerment and the content of the event’s programme reflected that. Keynote speaker Madame Bineta Diop, Special Envoy for Women, Peace and Security, African Union, said in her opening remarks: “Women have been the backbone of African society. When you go into the fields you see that women are the ones that support the family, the community. But their work is not accounted for in measurements of GDP.”
Following her speech the first session tackled Women and Leadership and further sessions touched on entrepreneurship, the media’s perception of the continent, education and heritage. The audience also heard a poem by St John’s College student Justina Kehinde, which highlighted female African heroes. Dr Pauline Essah, Manager of the University’s Cambridge-Africa Programme, was part of a panel session looking at African Education Systems. The Cambridge-Africa Programme is a key element in the University of Cambridge’s international strategy and covers several initiatives.
Key note speaker Lord Michael Hastings, of KPMG, said that challenges remain for businesses in Africa, not least infrastructure issues like electricity supplies, but he added that a recent poll showed that in some countries confidence in the future was higher than it had been for a generation.