A U.S. Government delegation led by the Prosper Africa initiative and the U.S. African Development Foundation (USADF), including officials from the White House National Security Council and U.S. Department of State, participated in panels, networked, and held meetings with businesses, investors, and cultural leaders at AFRICON22 in Los Angeles, California to strengthen cultural and economic ties with Africa and its Diaspora. The events engaged various leaders from across the global Black Diaspora, with a focus on the creative and tech sectors.
On Friday, May 27, USADF President and CEO Travis Adkins participated in a panel on Investing in Africa’s Future, and shared, “We are in a moment of cultural renaissance from both the historic and contemporary Diaspora… in our music, in our film, in our photography… It’s not just about our clothing and our hairstyles, but it’s about travel to the continent, getting to know one another culturally, and creating trade, investment, and economic relationships that help us to build out the dreams of our ancestors.” USADF is a Prosper Africa partner that provides direct investment into small and medium enterprises across the continent.
Deputy Assistant Secretary of State (DAS) for African Affairs Akunna Cook launched Pitch Prosper Africa. This series of Prosper Africa-sponsored pitch competitions invites entrepreneurs across Africa and the U.S.-based Diaspora to pitch their businesses and compete for prizes, including the opportunity to be featured in the Prosper Africa Virtual Deal Room. The Prosper Africa Virtual Deal Room connects a curated group of African and Diaspora companies raising capital with U.S. investors across Prosper Africa’s network of over 700 users. Prosper Africa’s transaction advisors are also available to help businesses and investors package, promote, and advance deal opportunities.
“We are increasingly seeing African ingenuity as the source of solutions to global problems, and investors have taken note,” said DAS Cook. She added that African startups raised an estimated $350 million in capital in 2016 and ~$4 billion in 2021 – an increase of over 1,000% in just five years.
From beekeeping to spatial computing, the six finalists of the AFRICON pitch competition – co-sponsored by Prosper Africa and Platform Capital – presented concepts that promised to be both profitable and socially impactful. Daba Finance won the day. According to its company website, Daba offers “a simple app to access investment strategies and build wealth by investing in Africa’s best private and public market opportunities.”
In commemoration of Africa Day on May 25, Director for Africa at the White House National Security Council Deniece Laurent-Mantey delivered remarks reaffirming the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to “Build Back Better” through equitable partnerships with African countries and elevating the role of the Diaspora as critical pillars in this effort.