Did you hear the news?__This could be a game changer for Africa and its entrepreneurs.

Did you hear the news?
__This could be a game changer for Africa and its entrepreneurs.

When I used to post regularly as part of our entrepreneurship senior class, I urged you to keep an eye on the big events domestically in your own country, continentally, and globally that could impact what you do.

One of the big events of the last two weeks was the announced retirement of the head of the World Bank. Since it was not expected, it sent shock waves around the world as we all waited to see who would be the successor. America as the largest single shareholder of the bank makes appointment.

The US was quick to announce its nominee for the position, a seasoned business leader and former executive chairman of MasterCard, Mr. Ajay Banga. To be honest with you, I’m very pleased with this choice, because I happen to know Ajay Banga and have always been impressed by what he did at MasterCard.

Anyone who can take a $20bn company and grow it 10X to over $200bn is always going to get my attention. But that isn’t all; Ajay Banga, who was born in India, has a real passion for Africa and that is how we first met.

He helped set up the MasterCard Foundation, the only global foundation to focus almost exclusively on Africa, and has moved its headquarters to Kigali. During the Pandemic, when we were desperately trying to raise billions of dollars to buy vaccines, Mastercard Foundation chipped in with $500m for vaccines and almost $2bn to support the Africa Center For Disease Control.

After hearing about his nomination, I reached out to Ajay almost immediately and approachable as ever.

Ajay said, “Strive I want to hear your thoughts about how I can help Africa realise its vast potential”. Since I was actually in New York we agreed to meet right away.

“Ajay, I want to talk to you about Africa’s young entrepreneurs and how they can help transform our continent”, I told him.

He beamed broadly, and said, “I’m keen to hear from you about this. Remember I’m from business and I know you.”

“We need to help Africa’s young entrepreneurs get better access to venture capital and to ensure proper infrastructure that supports economic activity,” I continued.

“Africa needs real investment to support growth. We get less FDI than Singapore which has a population of 4m compared to our 1.3bn.”

You guys know me; I made my pitch using all the data, and he listened intently because we speak the same language.

And so we talked.

I’m not saying he will deliver but it’s not every day that we get a candidate for this job who has his credentials.

Let’s give him a chance. It could be a game changer.

Why don’t you introduce yourselves. Some of you have been entrepreneurial #SolutionSeekers on this platform here for almost a decade now.

“From rising temperatures to rising inequality, we are facing some of the most trying challenges of our time, and none of us will succeed unless we all can succeed”. Ajay Banga

Image caption: “It is in your hands to make of our world a better one for all”. Nelson Mandela




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