Renowned philanthropists and businessmen, Bill Gates, Mo Ibrahim and Aliko Dangote have expressed concerns over the effect of climate change and stereotypes that hinder business opportunities in Africa.
While deliberating on “Future Business in Africa” at The Africa Center in New York on Tuesday, the three entrepreneurs agreed that climate change is an issue that must be confronted headlong to minimize its effect on the continent.
Gates stated that Africa is where most of the toughest challenges are met, noting that although Africa had the least to do to cause climate change, the impact and actual difficulties will first be felt by the farmers on the continent.
His words: “Why is the continent where availability of the labour is the highest, where the availability of land is the highest, where the production per hectare is the lowest, why can’t it move not only to be self-sufficient but also to be a net exporter”.
According to the Chief Executive Officer(CEO) of The Africa Center, Uzodinma Iweala, the world is on fire because some people could imagine how to function without fossil fuels, adding that Africa is alone because a vast majority of the people on the continent can’t imagine a life without mass consumption.
“And we are here because for the most part, we cannot imagine true equality in which we value the existence and visualize the potential of each individual and the societies they come from no matter how different they look or seem,” Iweala stated.
A trustee of the center, Hadeel Ibrahim, thanked all those who have contributed to the center and announced the naming of the hall as Aliko Dangote Hall.
“In recognition of the extraordinary generosity of the Dangote foundation with their gifts in excess of 20 million US dollars, it is my honour to announce the naming of this the Aliko Dangote Hall”, he stated.
Ibrahim in his speech said the stereotype of African corruption is a big issue affecting the continent.
His words:“Let’s be frank, there is a lot of minds in the West here – people think Africa is a very corrupt place. Corruption is a global problem. I don’t think it is an African problem.
“It’s not just about more seats, and more schools or more whatever we are doing there, it is about the quality of that and what are we teaching our kids.”
African Heads of State, business leaders and celebrities, including supermodel Naomi Campbell attended the event.