Africa is a misunderstood continent. Unfortunately, much of the continent’s information that is available to the world is that of unfortunate leadership, conflicts, emigration, economic incompetence, health issues and more. But just like every other human, the average African is daily faced with the challenge of meeting his/her needs, and possibly using such to follow up interests within their sphere of influence. In every society, it is important to note the various roles played by stakeholders (government, the private sector, and civil society in the larger frame of its definition) in pursuing a community where human dignity is respected, and sustainable livelihoods assured. While it is important to state that Africa’s present socio-economic predicament needs a lot of deliberate efforts, I will deliberately focus on the role of civil society actors in their role as the mediator between the people (grassroots) and opportunities. This session seeks to discuss the role of the Social Enterprise paradigm in Africa – as an emerging trend in an emerging continent – and to discuss the value proposition of the idea of partnering with – or supporting – social entrepreneurs in Africa: those who are delivering value within developing economies but who are focused on people and development, rather than profit. The session will also consider possible follow-up mechanisms such as establishing a continuous bi-directional flow of knowledge and management expertise between the Social Enterprise Alliance members in North America (and beyond) and their colleagues in Africa. I hope that at the end of this session, you will have a better understanding of the Social Enterprise landscape in Africa, get updates (“facts from the field”) from Africa’s social entrepreneurs, and discuss practical networking concepts and opportunities.
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