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A Continent Connecting: Most Innovative Brands Meet Minds of the Future at Columbia University

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On Saturday, April 2nd some of the biggest African names in business and e-commerce, health care innovation, philanthropy and media gathered at Columbia University for the 13th edition of the African Economic Forum (2016 AEF). Under the theme A Continent Connecting: Solutions from Within, the conference focused attention on the need for Africans to lead innovation and intervention for Africa’s problems.

Over 200 in attendance from 25 different African countries

The African Economic Forum is an annual conference organized by Columbia University’s Business and Law programs with companies like Microsoft, Transfast, OkayAfrica and Ethiopian Airlines, as some of the sponsors for this year’s event.  As in the previous year, 2016 AEF brought over 500 current and future business leaders to Columbia University and further establishing the conference as the biggest Africa-focused event at the prestigious university.

Perhaps, one of the most interesting panels – and there were several – was the Entrepreneurship in the Diaspora segment, which dealt with questions of whether aspiring entrepreneurs should dive into business without a formal business degree. This segment, which was organized by the Young African MBA’s (YAM) also tackled the question of whether new entrepreneurs should hold down part time jobs while chasing their dreams.

L-R Kwame Williams, Zuby Onwuta, Solome Lemma, Jay Vix, Okendo Lewis-Gayle


The Art Panel was another sought-after segment at 2016 AEF and featured prominent artists and content creatives including the beloved Nigerian actor Gbenga Akinnagbe, CEO of OkayAfrica Abiola Oke, and multi-talented artists like Ekwa Msangi, and Lion Ayodel.

Other panels at the conference included a development policy panel, education panel, law panel and private equity panel.

By Stream Africa