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Panel presenters at the African Business Conference converse on stage
Photos by Marianna Olivia Lordou.

Africa’s potential as a growth market for business remains both underestimated and misunderstood — as does the potential for business to play a transformative role in solving the continent’s biggest challenges, according to The Brookings Institution. To help move beyond the discussion of Africa’s challenges and focus on creating actionable solutions to solve them, Bentley’s African Student Association (ASA) held the inaugural African Business Conference on April 1: “Profit with a Purpose: Building a New Africa.” 

“We decided to organize this conference because we believe that Africa has enormous potential for economic growth, and that young leaders have a critical role to play in realizing this potential,” says Kojo Acheampong Danquah ’24, conference executive director and Finance major. “We recognize the struggles many African countries face with regard to both economic and social challenges, but we also recognize the important role many individuals have played in driving sustainable and inclusive growth within the continent. My team and I believe it is our duty to promote the diversity and richness of African culture in all its facets, including its entrepreneurial spirit.”

It is our duty to promote the diversity and richness of African culture in all its facets, including its entrepreneurial spirit.
Kojo Acheampong Danquah ’24
Conference Executive Director

Attendees, which included Bentley students and the outside community, gathered in Wilder Pavilion for an engaging panel discussion with moderator Blessing Fayiah ’24 and Faith Muigai, MSN, RN, CNRN, program lead for the Africa Medical Equipment Facility with the International Finance Corporation (a subsidiary of the World Bank); and Hon. Seth Terkper, who is a visiting scholar at Bentley and served as the finance minister of Ghana from 2013 to 2016. The keynote speaker was Dr. Akinwande Ademosu, former managing director and chief executive officer at Credit Direct Limited in Nigeria. 

Faith Mugai speaking on stage
Faith Muigai, MSN, RN, CNRN

The conversation provided insight into financial inclusion in Africa and explored potential changes that might better incorporate historically excluded populations. Exchanges on trade issues — particularly regarding how well Africa is connected today for the ease of trade, investments, migration and security — were followed up with discussions about ways both the public and private sectors can contribute more meaningfully and sustainably to the path from poverty to prosperity.  

Muigai specifically discussed issues like sustainability, financial inclusion and opportunities to address issues of corruption.

“As a Kenyan who lived in the U.S. and went back, I applied what I learned within my country in the healthcare industry. I am able to relate to the students here who are identifying their role in positively impacting Africa. It’s about profits with a purpose: being sustainable, equitable and productive. It’s about the positive influence on the economy as it translates to the bettering of the world.”

It’s about profits with a purpose: being sustainable, equitable and productive.
Faith Muigai, MSN, RN, CNRN
Program Lead, International Finance Corporation

Finance major Nana Kwame Boamah ’26, who attended the conference, agrees. “The profit is there; the purpose is what we must find. The speakers were very relevant to me, as a person with fintech interests. Hearing successful Africans and their perspectives is important.” 

Another important component of the program, according to ASA President Kweku Ashiagbor ’23, who is a Finance major, was the opportunity for students to prepare to be professionals within Africa and the world at large.  

“The conference emphasizes innovation beyond tomorrow and intends to facilitate change by bringing together young, bright minds and experts to deconstruct issues and produce resolutions across various African industries,” he says. “We want to transform the perception of doing business in Africa.”

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