African Diaspora Investment Symposium 2024: A call to climate action

 

Stephanie Simpson

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Representing Conserve Global, we were privileged to attend the ninth annual African Diaspora Investment Symposium (ADIS24) held from March 20-22, 2024, at the Hayes Mansion in San Jose, CA, USA. The event, organized by the African Diaspora Network (ADN), was a testament to the power of global collaboration in envisioning and shaping Africa’s future.

ADIS24 Panel on Exploring The Impact: The President’s African Diaspora Engagement Council, facilitated by Deniece Laurent-Mantey, Executive Director, President’s Advisory Council On African Diaspora Engagement. Photo Credit: Silicon Valley African Film Festival

The theme of ADIS24, “Activate with Africa: Climate Change, Connections, and Action,” resonates with Conserve’s mission to safeguard large ecosystems in Africa, in a way that prioritizes livelihoods, fosters self-determination, and builds a path to a nature-positive future. African youth and entrepreneurship is on a trajectory that respects and restores the natural world, while also enhancing local livelihoods. The energy, innovation, and collaboration of the diaspora reverberated throughout the corridors of the conference for the three days in California. The climate crisis, to which Africa contributes the least, yet bears a disproportionate burden, underscores the urgency of this work.

Blended Finance and Catalytic Philanthropy

The symposium brought together a diverse community of investors, entrepreneurs, academics, philanthropists, social impact organizations, government officials, and private sector representatives from over 80 countries. This diversity fostered rich discussions and innovative ideas on how philanthropy can play a catalytic role in scaling nature-positive solutions across the continent.  Blended finance models can see philanthropy support Africa’s youthful entrepreneurial demographic access capital and scale up their business ideas.

It was inspiring to hear directly from entrepreneurs such as Nasser Diallo, founder of health start up Clinic+O, on how they partner with the newly launched team at Myriad USA to collaborate and find practical solutions to accessing capital across two continents. The opportunities for forming partnerships like these were maximized with such a diverse cross-sector coming together with positivity, enthusiasm, and unity to unleash Africa’s true potential.

We were pleased to see the participation of local initiatives, including the Great Green Wall of Nigeria. This project, which is part of the larger African Union’s Great Green Wall initiative aims to combat desertification and improve soil fertility through sustainable land use practices. In Nigeria, the government has established a 1,359 km contiguous shelter belt that serves as a windbreak, and has restored 2,801 ha of land. This initiative is a testament to the power of local action in addressing global challenges.

Conserve Global, as an Africa-based organization (and a registered charity in the UK), believes that we must see more climate solutions that are driven by Africa, and rooted in equity, agency, and livelihoods. We see a great opportunity for organizations like WINGS Philanthropy for Climate and USAID Democracy Delivers to connect with ADN and contribute to this agenda. Those who are most affected by the climate crisis and that risk losing the most if we do not halt the degradation of precious landscapes, must have decision-making power over how we steward these environments.

Lastly, by connecting the African diaspora with climate action, one truth was apparent over the whole three days. Home is important. People are intrinsically protective of their environment. Philanthropy can honour this by ensuring their environmental and conservation work is inclusive and representative of the people, and ultimately led by the communities, who call these precious landscapes home. Philanthropy can bring people into the room with decision-makers, and more importantly to the table as decision-makers. Philanthropy can mitigate the perceived risk for bigger funders to shift their strategy in funding slightly and build partnerships that value local knowledge and solutions.

The success of ADIS24 is a testament to the collective efforts of all stakeholders involved. As the African Diaspora Network enters its fourteenth year, it remains committed to leveraging the power of the diaspora to shape Africa’s agenda, particularly in the face of the climate crisis.

With more than 26 countries from across Africa, Europe, and the Americas represented at the conference, we extend our gratitude to everyone who contributed to the success of ADIS24 and look forward to continued collaboration in the future.

Stephanie Simpson is the Director of Director at Conserve Global


Comments (0)

slice masters

The impact of ADIS24 is truly remarkable, showcasing the strength of collaboration among stakeholders dedicated to shaping Africa's future. As the African Diaspora Network celebrates its fourteenth year, its commitment to harnessing the diaspora's influence in addressing pressing issues like the climate crisis is commendable. With representation from over 26 countries spanning continents, the conference's success is a testament to the power of unity and shared vision. Kudos to all involved in making ADIS24 a resounding success, and here's to continued collaboration and progress in the journey ahead.


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