The mood, if not festive, was one of excitement. MAW’s concluding event in a former Amsterdam warehouse saw five business plans awarded outsized 1,000 euro cheques.
And if that wasn’t enough, the winner among the five received an additional cheque for 2,000 euros, which will be used to help establish a recycling plant in Sierra Leone that will produce building materials.
The afternoon started out sober enough,
with haunting images of boat refugees packed on an inflatable raft in the midst of a seemingly endless Mediterranean Sea. Max Kofi, representing Africa in Motion, one of the moving forces behind the event, reminded attendees of the grim reality that lies at the heart of Making Africa Work: Unemployment in Africa is a very serious problem. The challenge is to create jobs in Africa that generate hope so that young people will stay there and help build their societies instead of trying to escape to an uncertain future elsewhere.
Doing business is Africa can be challenging, but along with those challenges come
opportunities. Pairing up entrepreneurs with their counterparts in Ghana, Kenya,
Morocco, Rwanda and Sierra Leone resulted in a total of 49 selected business plans, out of 113 original applications in this government-funded programme.
FIVE CAREFULLY SELECTED TEAMS OF INVESTORS
Senior entrepreneurs and development aid professionals assessed and critically questioned the live business-pitch presenters. Prior to that, however, Hans Luursema, representing PUM Netherlands senior experts, another force behind the success of MAW, shared facts and figures. In his closing statement he mentioned that the African population will double by 2050 (to 2.5 billion people), and that we had better create perspectives now to prevent more challenging problems in the future.
presenting the five winning projects
Eric Smalling, who helped to found MAW in his role as a politician in 2016, with a budget proposal that one million euros be allocated to the cause of creating job opportunities in Africa, had the honour of presenting the five winning projects. Smalling also informed the audience that the new Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, Sigrid Kaag, is well aware of the importance of initiatives such as Making Africa Work.
Making Africa Work is proud to look back on a successful year that resulted in a
selection of 49 creative and inspiring business concepts. We congratulate the winners!