The 2020 Future Summit, which starts at 5am EST, 12pm EAT, on Thursday, October 1st, is a virtual gathering of some of the people who are helping to rewrite the African story at this time of radical change. The Covid-19 pandemic has given the continent an opportunity to reinvent the conditions that will lead to African prosperity in a globalized economy.

TV presenter June Sarpong is the hostess of the 2020 Future Summit

Although Africa seems to have weathered the pandemic relatively well so far, with fewer than one confirmed case for every thousand people, many of the local economies remain fragile. Not enough credit is given to those African scientists who are doing so much across diverse health research fields, on the continent and in the diaspora, to fight Covid-19. Still, the resilience of the African spirit has been showing in the work of social entrepreneurs, innovators, philanthropists, and the media.

The hostess of the Summit, June Sarpong, is the popular Ghanaian British television broadcaster, and the keynote speaker is Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus, who speaks often about harnessing the power of business to end poverty. His Yunus Social Business organization is active in several African countries. In Kenya, the organization recently launched the much lauded Investment Readiness Programme 20/21, which includes funding for growth-stage businesses that seek to solve a social problem.

Yunus Social Business is funding growth-stage businesses that seek to solve a social problem

Other speakers include Tsitsi Masiyiwa, the philanthropist and social entrepreneur who is empowering young people in Africa with education opportunities and access to technology. Over the past 20 years, the Higherlife Foundation, which was founded by Masiyiwa and her husband, Strive Masiyiwa, has directly and indirectly supported the education of more than 250,000 vulnerable and highly talented students in Zimbabwe, Burundi and Lesotho.

Tsitsi Masiyiwa is a philanthropist and social entrepreneur devoted to empowering young people in Africa

Fred Swaniker, the Ghanaian entrepreneur and leadership development expert has launched four organizations that aim to develop leaders in Africa. His African Leadership Academy and African Leadership Network are built on his belief that the missing ingredient on the continent is good leadership. In helping to catalyze a new generation of ethical, entrepreneurial African leaders, his insights might prove useful to those risk-takers who are looking to launch new ventures.

Fred Swaniker heads up the African Leadership Academy

29-year-old serial entrepreneur Iyinoluwa Aboyeji, another TRUE Africa favorite, will speak about creating new companies with the public interest in mind. As the Nigerian co-founder of leading African fintech Flutterwave and also Andela, a Mark Zuckerberg-funded African tech company that builds remote engineering teams that services multinationals and small businesses alike, he will share the rationale behind his latest endeavor, The Fund for Africa’s Future, also known as Future Africa, which is a people powered innovation fund that provides capital, coaching and community to mission driven innovators turning Africa’s biggest challenges into business opportunities.

At 10:35am EST, 5:35pm EAT, TRUE Africa’s founder and editor-in-chief, Claude Grunitzky, will moderate a panel with three of the women who are taking on new challenges in the continent’s creative industries. Azza Satti, in Nairobi, will speak about the changes underway in the film business. Pamela Tulizo, in Goma, will explain why photography is the tool she has chosen to document the lives of women in her native Democratic Republic of Congo. Sonia Lawson, in Lomé, will share details relating to the experience that led her to create the Palais de Lomé, a much heralded contemporary arts center in the Togolese capital.

Azza Satti is making big moves in the film industry
Sonia Lawson is the founder and director of the Palais de Lomé in the Togolese capital

“There are never enough opportunities to see, feel, and learn from these drivers of change,” said Dedo Baranshamaje, Segal Family Foundation’s Director of Innovation. “The Future Summit creates a space for deep, complex, and radical dialogues.” The Segal Family Foundation, which is sponsoring the Summit along with the Robert Bosch Stiftung, aims to nurture a community of locally-led organizations that are smart, resilient, and able to create and implement their own vision of development by working together.

You can access the main stage plenaries, the breakout sessions, the performances, as well as the networking via Hopin at the event site.