Nairobi, 6 December 2019: Led by the British Council and Ashoka, the Impact!Africa Social Entrepreneurship Summit 2019 kicked off today in Nairobi, Kenya under the theme “Collaborative Finance for Social Innovation”. The event, in its second edition after the inauguration in South Africa last year, serves to support the financial and social innovation consensus building by bringing together different stakeholders from across Africa to share experiences, challenges and solutions to support the building of a vibrant social economy.
From the 4 – 5 December 2019, the Summit focused on the adoption and growth of social innovation and financing models for social innovation to attain the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the African Union (AU) Agenda 2063. Among other things, the Summit will culminate in the launch of an Impact!Africa Fund targeting social innovators and tailored to their specific financing needs.
UNDP partners with the Summit organisers and contributed to the sessions with a focus on youth and women entrepreneurs as well as impact investment. Speaking at the conference, Mr. Walid Badawi, UNDP Kenya Resident Representative, applauded the ecosystem development approach the Summit is taking towards supporting social entrepreneurs especially around catalytic financing and the innovative development approaches required to achieve the SDGs and the Agenda 2063.
“We are constantly evolving and striving to become more innovative and efficient as we seek to respond more effectively to the new and emerging development challenges, we must collaborate more closely with a variety of actors – including governments, entrepreneurs, investors, and communities themselves. UNDP Accelerator Lab Network, for example, is a testament to our new approach to addressing challenges and opportunities in today’s complex development environment. In Kenya, for instance, the Accelerator Lab is focusing on youth with the hope of supporting our partners in addressing the challenge of inadequate livelihood opportunities such as unemployment.” Mr. Walid Badawi, UNDP Kenya Resident Representative
Within the Impact!Africa Summit, UNDP works alongside Impact@Africa, the pan-African impact investment ecosystem development network. With UNDP’s operationalisation and coordination assistance, living the organisation’s integrator role, Impact@Africa assists in the creation of a vibrant environment for impact investing in Africa by bringing together relevant players and helping to address the key barriers that inhibit the development and growth of the impact investing sector on the continent. The Network’s engagement is guided by a collaborative continent-wide action plan, which UNDP helped to formulate together with industry stakeholders.
As a contribution to the Summit, UNDP conducts a State of the Impact Investing in Africa Dialogue, which offers expert insights on areas relevant to the African impact investment sector in order to inform stakeholders on their ecosystem support interventions. UNDP also facilitates a Real Talk with Impact Investors session that connects social entrepreneurs with asset managers from the continent and provides insight on how social entrepreneurs can prepare themselves to engage with impact investors.
Building on the Impact!Africa Social Entrepreneurship Summit 2019, UNDP is working with the British Council, Ashoka, the wider UN system and other stakeholders to extend the collaboration to a long-term partnership that helps to create the conducive environment for social entrepreneurship and impact investment to flourish and become significant contributors to the SDGs and the Agenda 2063.
Full remarks delivered by Mr. Walid Badawi, UNDP Resident Representative
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