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SEEDS community! 

We are delighted to share the enriching outcomes of our recent SEEDS Think-Tank 2023 event, a dynamic gathering that delved deep into unleashing Africa's economic growth through the contribution of its diaspora. The event, held on December 2, 2023, at IdeenGeberHaus in Neuss, revolved around two pivotal themes: 

  • Unleashing Africa’s economics growth through diaspora backed project funding. What are the key challenges? 

  • How could the African diaspora ecosystem work together for higher entrepreneurship impact in Africa? 

Key highlights 


The event began by noting that the $4.8 billion raised by African startups in 2022 accounted for only 1.2% of all global startup funding [1].  

While various initiatives worldwide, such as SEEDS' startup mentoring, already tackle the challenge of enhancing investment balance in Africa, they form just a fraction of the solution. With SEEDS presenting valuable insights and records from the NABIKO mentoring program, the stage was set for a day of exploration and discovery of additional ideas and solutions leveraging on synergies and the potential of the African diaspora. 

 During the event, participants had the opportunity to witness impressive business showcases and non-profit organizations spotlighting innovative projects with the potential to drive economic transformation. 

The open panel discussion was one of the highlights of the event, featuring a thought-provoking discussion centered on the challenges of fundraising for African startups and SMEs. Distinguished panelists, including THIERRY DJEUMO from the NABIKO Business Angel Network (NBAN), SVEN GREISERT from Business for Transformation (B4T), ERIC KALEJA from Deutsche Investitions- und Entwicklungs-gesellschaft (DEG), and several other contributors among the participants, shared their perspectives, sparking engaging conversations. The questions addressed during the panel discussion were: 

  • Why are French-speaking countries in West and Central Africa receiving fewer funds? Trust, the local ecosystem, and mindset as limiting factors... 

  • Are the raised funds going in the right direction? Sectors like Healthcare and Education are very low-ranked and receiving less funding... 

  • Can a more diverse approach really be a game-changer? Proportionally fewer women-led startups are raising funds... 

  • Is the potential of local resources well explored? The amount of funding raised by locally educated founders is continuously increasing... 

After highlighting the challenges during the panel discussion, four collaborative work sessions were dedicated to exploring ways in which the African diaspora ecosystem could unite for a more significant entrepreneurship impact in Africa. These sessions were led by Jules Keghie, Fabrice Chuembou, Laurette Odi, and Evariste Happi, focusing on generating actionable ideas and fostering collaboration in TECHNOLOGIES, FINANCES, RESOURCES & COMPETENCES, and AUTHORITIES & REGULATIONS.  

The event was closed with an intensive networking session, giving the participants the opportunity to connect with each other. 


Main outcomes of the collaborative working sessions 


The SEEDS Think-Tank 2023 orchestrated four dynamic collaborative session, delving into the powerful intersection of the African diaspora ecosystem and its potential to propel entrepreneurship in Africa. The core question guiding this exploration was: How can the African diaspora ecosystem synergize to amplify its impact on entrepreneurship in Africa? 

The participants were split into four groups focusing on the area of TECHNOLOGIES, FINANCES, RESOURCES & COMPETENCES, and AUTHORITIES & REGULATIONS, the objectives of each working group were to: 

  • Envision possibilities for collaboration in an ideal world. 

  • Propose pragmatic actions to catalyze entrepreneurship. 

  • Identify the essential conditions for success. 

  • Assign responsibilities and establish clear timelines for effective implementation. 

The following summarize the outcomes and recommendation of the working sessions: 




Key findings

  • Energy is the sector to focus on, utilizing technologies to create "sustainable" sources of energy characterized by a high level of reliability (less shortage), affordability (cheap and easy to access), and ecological footprint (using emission-less technologies like wind, solar energies, biomass, etc.). 

  • There is an urgent need to raise awareness of the energy cost and create a culture of less energy consumption in African countries. Thus, creating a new mindset will be key to a successful transformation. 

Recommendations and actions

  • Both the public (government subvention) and private sectors need to be involved in the funding process, including the people affected, and focusing mainly on already existing instruments. 

  • A solid concept of lobbying and stakeholder management needs to be created to improve and facilitate the investment process in the energy sector. 

  • The cooperation between the already existing initiatives within the diaspora should be enhanced. 

  • Create a platform to inform and educate on topics related to "sustainable energy" in Africa. Five participants decided to get together from now on and create this platform. 




Key findings

  • There is already a huge community of people interested in investing in Africa. Also, several solutions for investment supported by banks and funds are already in place. 

  • The effort needs to be spent on raising awareness, educating the involved parties on the needed mindset, and connecting people within the ecosystem to create a real network. 

  • The mitigation of risks when raising funds for a project in Africa goes through:  the diversification of the investment, the use of transparency to create trust, the leveraging of best practices, and a clear delimitation of the focus area. 

Recommendations and actions

  • A systematic analysis of the existing investment models (platform, VC, etc.) needs to be done to identify or develop the right structure for investment in African countries. 

  • Similar events like this Think Tank need to be organized to follow up on the discussion and exchanges. 

  • Make public what is already existing and available! For example, there should be more communication about the activities of business angel groups like the Nabiko Business Angel Network. Some participants took the action to address, develop, and implement with SEEDS a strategy on how to improve communication in the ecosystem. 




Key findings

  • The ability to apply a customer-oriented approach is a key competence to be developed when running a project in Africa. This implies that the process of ideation, product development, and commercialization should be systematically driven by the customer’s need. 

  • There is unused potential that can be explored by African startups to improve their business performance related to: volunteer support with complementary skills, free tools, and open-source material. 

  • Soft skills like resilience and determination are game-changers in the African ecosystem. 

Recommendations and actions

  • Reinforce in mentoring programs like NABIKO aspects related to the customer-oriented approach during ideation, fundraising, product development, and commercialization. 




Key findings

  • It is fundamental to understand the specific legal and regulatory framework for foreign investment in each African country and the government's priority sectors to improve the impact of investment in Africa. 

  • Regulations that increase attractiveness in terms of taxation are key levers to attract more investment in African countries. A cross-comparison between different countries can provide useful information to create best-in-class approaches. 

Recommendations and actions

  • Similar events like this Think tank need to be organized to follow up on the discussion and exchanges. 


Looking Ahead 


As we reflect on the success of SEEDS Think-Tank 2023, we're energized and motivated for the future. The insights gained and connections forged between the participants pave the way for more impactful initiatives and collaborations. 

This event provided a vibrant platform for networking, where participants connected, shared experiences, and built meaningful relationships, fostering a sense of community. Here are some inspiring words from participants: 

"This event opened my eyes to the incredible potential within the African diaspora. Truly inspiring!" 

"The work sessions were not just discussions; they were action-oriented, with real solutions emerging. Looking forward to hearing about the results of the actions." 

“The selected topics were so relevant. I can’t wait to share it with some of my relatives and invite them for the next event.” 

A heartfelt thank you to everyone who contributed to the success of SEEDS Think-Tank 2023. Your commitment to catalyzing Africa's economic growth and entrepreneurship impact is truly commendable. Stay tuned for more transformative events and opportunities on our SEEDS journey. 


Until next time, 


 [1] Africa: The Big Deal by Max Cuvellier & Maxime Bayen; weekly newsletter: 

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