Global Shapers Advocate to build communities for growth in Nigeria
The Global Shapers Community, Lagos Hub, led by Curator, Ayobami Bamisaiye and Vice Curator, Fatimah Bamisedun hosted SHAPE AFRICA, a first-of-its-kind post-COVID hybrid discourse in an immersive experience to drive dialogue to address issues in Africa. The Hub, initially founded by Osayi Alile, CEO ACT Foundation, celebrated 10 years of impact in Lagos state by a series of local impact projects and the SHAPE event which was held over the course of 2 days on the 10th and 11th of December, 2021.
This event brought together 200 of the world’s young and brightest professionals, entrepreneurs, policy makers, and experts to discuss the creation of growth opportunities in Africa amongst other dialogues. SHAPE events are regional events created by the Global Shapers Community worldwide to share their knowledge in an immersive experience. Other SHAPEs include MENA,(middle east and north africa), APAC (Asia Pacific),etc.
Under the theme “Building Communities for Growth”, the two-day event, which was held on the 10th and 11th of December, saw in attendance members of the Global Shapers community in Lagos, Abuja, Kano, Kaduna, Ibadan, Port Harcourt, Uyo and Calabar Hubs and African Hubs, virtually. The young and inspiring individuals sought to encourage youth participation in community development and growth, as the pathway to building lasting change, while exploring the rich and multi-cultural history of Lagos City.
The event kicked off with a welcome address by Abdullahi Alim, World Economic Forum Regional Manager, Global Shapers Community (Africa & Middle East), commending the Lagos Hub members and curatorship on being the most sort after hub and planning the community’s first hybrid SHAPE event, with Nationals in attendance and the rest of the global community, virtually.
Exploring a practical approach to building systems that drive local communities within the continent forward, Keynote Speaker and Executive Director, Fate Foundation, Adenike Adeyemi said, “A clear and simple solution to sustainable growth would be to approach building systems of this nature from an ecosystem model. To create diversified opportunities for the hundreds of millions living and working in Africa, backs up the adage that says, “it takes a village to raise a child and support the parent of the child.” When we take an ecosystem approach to building communities for growth, we can rest assured of a better future for all”.
Delivered in two sessions, the event featured moderated panel discussions geared at identifying opportunities to shape the future. The first session tagged, “Opportunities in Africa for Africans”, featured panelists like Oscar Michael, Co-Founder, Africa Comicade; Segun Cole, Co-Founder of Fund the Gap Alliance; and Harold Okonoboh, CEO, Recyclan Africa. Moderated by an alumnus of the community, Gloria Okorie, the panelists explored the future of the nation’s standard of living and quality of life in undiluted honest conversations around current challenges and bouncing off ideas to explore possible solutions. The session ended with people feeling supercharged and ready to take action to positively influence the future of Africa.
The Curator of the Global Shapers Community, Lagos Hub, Ayobami Bamisaiye, who thanked everyone for the active role played in ensuring the success of the event, also specially recognized Nigeria’s leading bus-sharing service company, Shuttlers for the huge role played in entrepreneurial development and support of the Global Shapers Community.
Echoing the words of WEF Regional Manager, GSC was born out of a crisis. This means that crises not only helps us rethink our current way of living but it also creates unique opportunities for us to shape the future that we truly desire. “Like we’ve always said, Shape Africa has been developed for shapers by shapers and we want to take this opportunity to appreciate every shaper for being a part of it. The model of SHAPE Africa 2021, is a hybrid event, post-COVID, bringing together Shapers in Nigeria who attended physically, with the rest of Africa and the world (Asia, Europe, America, etc).
“We consider it a huge privilege to be hosting the first-of-its-kind post-pandemic hybrid SHAPE event and we hope this serves as a blueprint for future SHAPE events around the world. We believe in strong collaborations that strengthens our work in thematic focus areas of Employment, Equity and Inclusion. Through this Shape Africa 2021 event, we are encouraging everyone to question how we can leverage our communities to create growth opportunities. There is no better time to ask important questions like how do we enable models of citizenship that drive nations, states and local communities forward? How do we create opportunities for the hundreds of millions living and working on the continent? Certainly no better time to deliberate on how we can shape a future that is attentive to the quadruple bottom line: people, profit, purpose and planet.”
Speaking emphatically about the desired impact of the sessions, Vice Curator of the Lagos Global Shapers Hub, Fatimah Bamisedun said, “We have dealt with growing inequality, automation of jobs, and dependence on global markets long before the pandemic. The pandemic only widened these gaps, revealing possibilities we ordinarily wouldn’t have identified and helping us rethink and re-envision how we live and do business. In 2016, former South African President, Thabo Mbeki labelled Africa’s brain-drain as frightening. This number continues to rise with the impact of the pandemic, yet the African startup ecosystem looks promising.
“This is why we need to have conversations and SHAPE AFRICA 2021 provides the avenue for young leaders to come together and rethink the opportunities that abound on our continent, #ChoosingToChallenge barriers to growth. By driving local economic development, we can influence systems and policies, provide funding and market access to improve standard of living. This discussion couldn’t have come at a better time than now, on World Human Rights Day where the theme, “the year of unity, socio-economic renewal and nation building” aligns with our need to explore new models for active citizenship.
The advocacy-focused session tagged, “Exploring New Models for Active Citizenship”, and moderated by Actor and Founder of Potato Production, Imoh Eboh, emphasized the need for new models of active citizenship that drive national, state and community development. The panel session comprised changemakers like Abideen Olasupo, Business Consultant; Adeyanju Folarin, Advisory Council, Global Shapers Community; Jennifer Soba-Pearse, Global Shaper and Executive Director of Give Back Nigeria; and Yaseer Wazeeri, Alumnus, Global Shapers Kano, who discussed the importance of youth engagement in nation building. Participants pledged to vote in the 2023 general elections and exercise their civic duty for the betterment of the society and community at large.
SHAPE AFRICA 2021 successfully drove dialogues that promise positive change and impact on the community and Nigeria as a whole. In attendance were two hundred (200) of the world’s young and brightest professionals, entrepreneurs, policy makers, and experts. SHAPE AFRICA 2021 ended in a magical cultural night to mark the success of the event.