The first steps of an enterprise

A good friend of mine that works at the US Embassy of Ouagadougou first sent me an e-mail June 11 saying that there was a conference at the embassy. The topic- Economic Potential in Africa with focus on Burkina Faso.  One of the main presenters was the director of the House of Enterprise Clarisse Kyelem here in Ouagadougou.  It was an excellent conference as we watched TED TALKS videos that were interactive. Each video had a different theme which varied from innovative green technology (i.e. wind, solar, and bio-fuels) to women entrepreneurs in the most unlikely of countries such as Afghanistan.  Following each video there was a discussion among the viewers and relating each subject to Burkina Faso.  This was an an important link to the conference, as each participant was able to listen, reflect, question, and contribute.  Truly awesome to hear the ideas of innovators in an emerging market.  The closing remarks were made by the United States ambassador to Burkina Faso Mr. Thomas Dougherty. What motivated the entire crowd in addition to the ambassador, was a powerful opening speech by Nigeria’s former Minister of Finance Ngozi Okonjo- Iweala.  She is a powerful speaker and was very clear in her message- If you are not doing business in Africa now, you will miss the wave.  Despite all the news on Africa’s poverty, one thing is clear, there are Africans working for a better future and money is being made.  Moreover, despite the reputation of Africa, people here want to do things for themselves; not be spoon fed or better yet breast-fed. The tides are changing albeit gradually!

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