Pitching Africa

Written by Howie Shawki

Monday 28th February - Last night Grassroot Diplomat attended a delightful conference called "Pitching Africa in London: Business Opportunities in Africa", hosted by the African Peoples Advocacy and the British African Business Alliance at the Indian YMCA in Fitzrovia, London. 

As a VIP guest, Talyn Rahman-Figueroa was invited to pitch Grassroot Diplomat to potential clients comprising of African entrepreneurs and civil society groups representing Africa and the UK. Other VIP guests include H.E. Mr Abhimanu Kundasamy - Mauritius High Commissioner to the UK, and H.E. Mr Carlos dos Santos - Mozambique High Commissioner to the UK. Each High Comissioner presented detailed speeches on how Mauritius and Mozambique (respectively) were leading charge in economic development, particularly in building bridges to make African states like theirs attractive to investors from and outside of the African Diaspora.

The evening was pleasant and relaxed as we sipped our apple juice and ate biscuits while waiting for speakers to gather inside the Mahatma Gandhi Hall. Chairing the meeting was the energetic and charming Henry Bonsu, a journalist, director and co-founder of Colourful Radio. We were also treated to a video by Sylvie Aboa-Bradwell from Cameroon, the executive director of the Pitching Africa Documentary Project. The documentary followed APA and six individuals of African descent as they tried to convince philanthropists and investors to support their projects.

As if the discourse and the short film were not enough, we were also treated to a wonderful and uplifting recital by Julian Sandi from Sierra Leone, a model, actor, and singer who also participated in the Pitching Africa Documentary. In the networking session after the event, we met some very interesting people ranging from young start-ups to civil society groups who seemed ready to engage with Grassroot Diplomat. We were quite excited to hear from a particular lady working in the charity sector, preaching gospel of civil society’s advantages compared to those of centralised and authoritarian government.

We will hopefully be participating in other events related to Africa and make sure that our network of contacts expand within the diplomatic environment to help support the work of African civil society in bridging the gap with their policy makers.