21 Jan

Essential Takeaways from The Future Awards Africa 2014 (#TFAA2014) by Mark Nwani

The Future Awards Africa (#TFAA2014) which took place on the 7th of December, 2014 at the Intercontinental Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos, Nigeria was heralded by lots of celebration and fanfare, most of which were centered on the recognition and acknowledgement of young entrepreneurs breaking boundaries (literally) to define themselves.

From determined entrepreneurs like Boniface Mwangi (31,) who is the CEO of Pawa 254 Initiative, a creative hub for artists and activists to work together towards the advancement and attainment of human rights in Kenya, to exceptional minds like Nasir Yammama (24), a farmer who built a unique technology from winning youth competitions like Digitest and Mtandao-Afrika in his teens, it was plain to see that the future of Africa belongs to young entrepreneurs who have proven to be consistent in being innovative and committed to its growth and development.

Some creative concepts by other young entrepreneurs, which would challenge your thought process include; Soronko Solutions, founded by Regina Agyare (30) which creates and manages ventures that apply technology to promote social development, majorly geared towards disabled persons and women. WinSenga, created by Joshua Okello (23) which is a low cost mobile antenatal diagnosis tool that enables less-trained midwives in rural areas to accurately monitor the health of an unborn child. The interesting aspect of this project is that it is an advanced version of the 19th century pinard horn used by midwives to listen to the heart rate of a foetus during pregnancy.

Furthermore, it was really heart-warming to know that the average age that cut across all these versatile young entrepreneurs stood at an overwhelming figure of 26!!! Thus putting to rest that the notion that a mentor has to be of a certain experienced age to earn the right to be addressed as one. It is as invalid a cliche as a word depicts. These youths embody every aspect of who a mentor should be and provide a fine line of inspiration to upcoming entrepreneurs who seek to find the right area of focus to channel their entrepreneurial thoughts to.

At the end of the event, it became evident that there were no losers, only winners who continue to inspire youths on the true essence of entrepreneurial growth through diligence and sheer determination to be fiercely innovative.

An intriguing part of the event was when Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde (a Nigerian actress) said in her speech “no growth in the entertainment industry, no vote” referring to the upcoming elections in Nigeria in 2015. Banky W. (a Nigerian musician) concurred with her sentiments when he stressed the fact that “if young people don’t come together now and decide enough is enough then Nigeria will never change.”

Surely and most certainly we are getting to the point where people, whose voices have a great air of visibility and reach are taking the center stage to address topical issues that matter; issues that should be contained through a strong unity and bond to ensure we as Africa get to where we rightfully deserve to be; the place that epitomizes the greatness we are defined by.

Suffice to say the performance by artistes such as Asa, IBK (new talent that will definitely be around for a long time), and Yemi Alade amongst others left the audience captivated and proud to be Africa. Falz was vitally hilarious. The heat between Lanre Da-Silva Ajayi and Daniel Amokachi on why Fashion is better than Football and vice-versa continues to linger in an undilutedly entertaining way. Linda Ikeji (ace Nigerian Blogger) won the auction bid of N1million for Lanre Da-Silva Ajayi’s clothing piece in aid of the Stop Ebola Campaign Fund.

Summarily, it was a great event. Africa’s potentials in on the high rise and can only get better.

Boniface Mwangi(31), Kennedy Odede (29), Olawale Isaiah Ojo (25), Charles Nichols (24), Samir Ibrahim (24), Mark Essien (31), Abdikadir Aden Hassan (26), Nasir Yammama (24), Nixon Ochatre (23), Ally Edha Awadh (31), Andrew Mupuya (22), Ese Odiete (24), Tricia Ikponmwonba (28), Jake Okechukwu (26), Regina Agyare (30), Ogunlana Olumide (22), Philip Obaji Jr (29), Obanor Chukwuwezam (23), Lukman Jaji (30), Ahmed Salihijo (30), Nkechi Okwuone (26), Jamilia Abass (30), Susan Oguya (26), Linda Kwamboka (26), Joshua Okello (23), Sangu Delle (27), Kayode Disu (31), Joel Mwale (20), Justin Stanford (30), Bunmi Otegbade (27), Sanga Moses (30), Nasibu Abdul Juma (24), Pansha Zamani (27), Michael Kwesi Owusu (26), David Adeleke (21) and Alengo Oromait (22) are THE FUTURE.

Africa has been inspired by young energetic minds. Africa’s unity is unquestionable.

Let’s keep taking care of each other. We are all we’ve got!

Do have a great week.