On Wednesday evening, September 25th, with our sponsor New York University’s Africa House, we hosted a timely conversation focused on global challenges and possible solutions for education, entrepreneurship and employment [the three E’s”] for Africa’s youth.

Our discussion was centered around this question: How can we optimize the futures of Africa’s youth by ensuring access to the “three E’s”? Our panelists were Elozi Lomponda, founder of Canoes on Books, Nabou Fall, CEO of Vimeo Group, Leonard Wantchekon, Founder of African School of Economics, Donatien Kouakou Adou, Ph.D student at Michigan State University and IUGB alumnus and Yaw Nyarko, Founder of NYU’s Africa House.

The relaxed atmosphere of NYU’s Africa House encouraged lively conversation with audience participation.  Our panelists referenced the continent’s history on entrepreneurship, higher education and employment but also looked to the future to address the most challenging issues. These include the barriers to starting up a business, access to quality higher education and the reasons for high unemployment rates among African youth.  In the space of two hours, the panel covered these topics and much more, including the necessary soft skills to succeed in today’s work environment and financing education and entrepreneurship.

The panel addressed the unsurpassed value of role models.  Coincidentally,  Dr. Leonard Wantchekon is a role model to Kouakou Donatien ADOU, our IUGB alumnus panelist.  Mr. Donatien has been following Dr. Wantchekon’s work and achievements for years and at the event they found each other on the same panel.  Mr. Donatien was able to meet his mentor for the first time and expressed his admiration.

A diverse audience of students, professionals, nonprofit and private sector executives, entrepreneurs and professors provided a rich exchange that benefited all present.  Fortunately, the lovely reception hosted by Africa House following the event allowed all to continue the conversation over Moroccan cuisine.

IUGB Foundation will issue a report and a video of our conversation, which we hope will further drive the conversation around solutions to these issues. IUGB Foundation expresses its gratitude for the support provided by our partners Ethiopian Airlines and Goodwings. Here is a link to the photos from the event.