An alliance of current and future African leaders in business, academia & the arts have come on one big platform to help Africa direct its own development plan. The African Influencers for Development (AID) initiative, launched by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), is at the core of UNDP’s new relations strategy for Africa, to engage with African champions who are already working to drive sustainable development across the continent.
UNDP’s partnership approach works through people, products and platforms to create a movement of influencers that cuts across sectors and generations. Groups made up of present and future champions in business, academia, arts and entertainment including youth, women, start-ups and SMEs will partner with UNDP in 46 African countries to accelerate the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The African Business Map
During the occasion, an important outcome of the AID initiative, the African Business Map, was unveiled. The map is a one-stop shop for curated data on African businesses that identifies business opportunities and enables partners to co-discover and co-create innovative development solutions customized to Africa’s opportunities and challenges. Products such as the Africa Genius video series, the AID lecture series and other knowledge products are ideas intended to be created with the initiative.
Importance of Africans to control the narratives when partnering developmental institutes
African captains of industry, academicians, and other champions are on the ground and know the details of what the challenges are in their respective countries. Hence, they will easily identify the challenges and offer practical solutions. Developmental institutes such as the UNDP have been in Africa since the continent gained independence with little success to show for it.
It is great now that issues facing the continent are being spearheaded by African champions on the ground. This initiative should be extended to all other relations between developmental organizations and Africa.
It is only Africans that will develop the continent because they are the ones living in their countries daily and facing the developmental challenges first hand.