As Higherlife Foundation we strive to solve Africa’s challenges by bringing together dynamic and driven young Africans and providing them with platforms to work for the betterment of their own continent. Recently we sponsored the Oxford Africa Conference Innovation Fair in collaboration with the Oxford Africa Society to give young Africans the opportunity to engage in conversations centered on redefining Africa’s identity across all disciplines -politics, society, business and technology.
The conference opened its doors for the seventh time to policymakers, business leaders, academics, artists, students, and professionals to critically explore Africa’s challenges to establish an integrated and innovative perspective that can move the continent forward in today’s 21st Century.
Attendees enjoyed a varied program for entrepreneurial development, networking opportunities, out of this world discussion panels and engaging presentations from amazing influential speakers. Keynote speakers included renowned educational entrepreneur Fred Swaniker, former President of the African Development Bank Group Dr. Donald Kaberuka as well as esteemed international advocate for women’s and children’s rights Ms. Graça Machel.
In her address, social and political thought leader Ms. Graça Machel, passionately advocated for a sense of African patriotism in today’s young Africans by telling them to reclaim their cultural identities and be committed to Africa’s cause. “As young people in Africa you have the historic responsibility of shaping and building the Africa you want 2 see,” stated Ms Machel. She went on further to emphasize the need for Africans to address African challenges and forge a way to a better Africa themselves. “Africa must break away from the ideologies of her colonial masters. Africa must find her own way,” reiterated Ms Machel.
Technology and entrepreneurship were central to the discussions at the conference. In a panel discussion on redefining educational models across Africa, Vimba Gwata from Muzinda Hub- a Higherlife Foundation technology hub- spoke on innovation being the key to solving Africa’s challenges. “Don’t wait for a perfect moment to launch innovations, Zimbabwe is doing it despite its challenges”, expressed Vimbai.
Higherlife Foundation board member and Founder of Agis- an investment management company based in South Africa, Bernard Chidzero participated in the panel discussion on Pan African businesses and emphasized the need for Africans to think differently. “It’s time to think about Africa’s competitive advantages. These are diversity, size (of population), the youth bulge and interdependencies,” stated Mr Chidzero. He also shared the great work that Higherlife Foundation does across Africa and the importance of supporting young African entrepreneurs.
Higherlife foundation showed this dedication to young African innovation by holding an innovation fair that saw many African startups taking part in a series of workshops, mentoring sessions, and an elevator pitch session to compete for a £2,000 cash prize to further their work. Mr Chidzero led the innovation session that saw each candidate present their innovation to conference delegates.
Zimbabwe’s very own Clayton Chaparadza – graduate from the University of Zimbabwe represented Zimbabwe with his amazing start up Post-Harvest Project which makes a low-cost fresh produce storage device, called the e-cooler that is helping small scale farmers to store their produce in cheap refrigerated canvas boxes which cost $80 and cost only $7 a month.
Other noteworthy candidates included Namibia’s Profile Namibia Chemicals which makes chlorine to fight cholera using solar energy, Kenya’s AB3D printers that makes 3D printers from scrap and apply it to education, health and consumer products and Uganda’s Medical Concierge Group that connects patients to healthcare providers through mobile technologies. Voting was open to all conference delegates and Afya Tea, a young organization from Cameroon who are using organic tea for Diabetic treatment, emerged as the winners out of the ten outstanding candidates.
To further provide platforms of empowering young people through events, Higherlife Foundation will also host the first of its kind Innovate Elevate Youth Conference this 20th – 22nd July at the Celebration Centre. To learn more please visit: www.ieyconference.com