Posts Tagged ‘ie africa club madrid chapter#8217;


One of the most distinctive traits of IE as a community and as a space of intellectual growth, is the opportunity to interact and learn from the exemplary leaders and practitioners in the field, from individuals who actually make and execute policies, projects and who have a unique and firsthand experience of not just what is happening in the world of business, politics, economics, but who often are the agents of change and innovation. So, it was truly a great opportunity and honor for the International Relations Club in association with the Africa Club to host Hon. Mahmoud Thabit Kombo, the Minister of Health of the Government of Zanzibar (Tanzania), who shared with us the challenges that the people of Zanzibar are facing in social development and what steps are being taken to tackle these issues.

We customarily treat Africa, and in particular countries from the Sub-Sharan region, as simply underdeveloped and lacking capacity and knowledge to grow and prosper. Often, for many people from the general public, the image of Africa doesn’t go beyond the UNICEF’s donations plea or the random new headline of another corrupt politician being installed in power. However, current socio-political and economic conditions in African countries are qualitatively more complex and sophisticated than that.

Indeed, Sub-Saharan Africa does face many severe problems that we are no longer used to in the West, none more than in the area of general healthcare. As Minister Mahmoud Thabit Kombo shared with us, an issue such as widespread access to potable water is unfortunately still a major challenge in Zanzibar. A large portion of the modest budget of this nation goes to ensure that all citizens have the capacity to satisfy basic need of clean water. Professional medical coverage is another fundamental challenge that Zanzibar is struggling with. For example, there is only one active radiologist for the whole archipelago! We are looking at a one to more than a million ratio. To put this into perspective, just one large hospital in Spain might have over 10 radiologists. As Hon. Mahmoud Thabit Kombo explained to the audience, the underlying reason for this disparity is twofold: on one hand, time and financial means needed to procure appropriate talent for the scale of the healthcare system in Zanzibar are often challenging to meet. Training a medical professional from the local population, which is ultimately a goal as well for the government, takes significant time and requires an input of relatively large investment and the benefits are only seen after many years. On the other hand, retaining these professionals once they trained, becomes even more challenging as the monetary incentive that the government of Zanzibar is able to offer is often not competitive comparing with job opportunities elsewhere. Thus, there talent exodus becomes a substantial impediment in improving the healthcare system. Finally, the simple issue of funding the budget of the ministry is still relevant. Unfortunately, the budget continues to be heavily dependent on the aid: about 40% of the funds come from international aid sources. This puts obvious restrains on the capacity of the government to act at their own will on the all the issues.

Despite all these issues, nonetheless, Zanzibar was able to embark on a number of successful and progressive reforms and policies that are reversing those negative trends. One of the biggest and truly meaningful achievements has been almost virtual eradication of malaria and AIDS in Zanzibar with less than 1% of the population being affected by these severe ailments. It is hard to underestimate the beneficial direct impact of this feat on the healthcare situation in Zanzibar but also indirectly on the whole social and economic development of the archipelago by liberating the people and the society at large from impediments related to these diseases. Furthermore, Zanzibar is in the course of profound re-building and re-shaping of the overall healthcare system with the concentration on primary, basic and prophylactics healthcare which has time and times again been proven to work very successfully in developing countries. There is a focus on extending coverage through educating the population on healthcare fundamentals such as for example family planning, additional built primary facilities and increasing the human talent dedicated to healthcare services. To further this goal the government is annually allocating 300 scholarships for university level studies including health related degrees that are expected, despite the previously mentioned talent drainage, to increase the professional base for the healthcare in particular and for the society in large at Zanzibar.

The most important aspect that was discussed by Mahmoud Thabit Kombo that is encompassing all of the mentioned above, was probably the fact that African countries and societies are fundamentally repositioning themselves within the international community and in the way how they approach international cooperation and internal challenges. Countries in region are moving more and more towards local emphasis and ground up approach to design and implementation of development solutions using local talent rather than simply consuming international given tools that often have very limited impact on the given local community due to low compatibility with native conditions and which often benefit foreign interest primarily. Thus, the programs that Zanzibar for example engages now are always filtered under internal priorities before they are being accepted for implementation. This is accompanied by a central change in international partnerships that African countries are engaging: when before Europe and in general the West have been the primary sources of international aid and support in Sub-Saharan Africa, contemporarily what used to be coined as South to South cooperation is becoming more and more prevalent. New giants such as China and India are becoming the chief partners of development efforts in many of the countries of the region, more and more replacing the role of the traditional Western influence. For example, China is increasingly investing in Zanzibar not only from a purely economic perspective, but is additionally actively sponsoring large healthcare projects as well, for example by donating 16 million dollars for a construction of a hospital in the archipelago. Furthermore, China is opening travel and study opportunities to African societies that are translating into changing attitudes in new generations towards what they see global centers. The challenge for Europe in this case as the Minister mentioned is that the lack of sufficient interest and involvement in Africa by Europe and West in general with increasing Chinese participation will significantly undermine the economic and political capabilities of the West in the region.

International Relations Club in association with the Africa Club would like to thank Jose Piquer, Executive Director, Undergraduate Studies in International Relations, IE School of International Relations, Campus Life team all the participant for making this event posible.

Alejandro Pereda Shulguin

International Relations Club



Written on July 1, 2016 by Campus Life in Geographic

For the past four years, IE Africa Club members have organized what can best be described as one of the biggest club events of the year and the 2016 edition certainly lived up to expectations.Clube Africa IE 2016 050

IE Africa Day took place on 13th June, at the IE Paper Paviilon and featured speakers from across industries and regions, many of whom flew in to Spain  especially for the occasion. Panelists included:  Emeraba Tony-Uzoebo, Co-Founder, Enviro-gro Farms Limited, Nigeria; Raphael Ani, Head of Africa Practice, KPMG UK; Matt Pelton, Africa Leadership University (ALU), Kenya; Grace Obado – Director, Africa 2.0 Spain; Emanuele Santi, Lead Strategy Advisor, African Development Bank, Cot D’Ivoire.

Clube Africa IE 2016 156 - CopyProfessor Gonzalo Garland, VP, International Relations, IE Business School, moderated the event.

To open proceedings, Neeta Sommers, Political Counsellor and  Second in Charge at SA Embassy, Spain gave an overview of the growth and industry potential in South Africa and across the continent. Other Ambassadorial attendees included: Bramwel Kisuya, Kenya’s Ambassador to Spain, and an official delegation from the Nigerian Embassy, Spain.

Emanuele Santi continued the evening’s proceedings by presenting African Development Bank’s African Economic Outlook 2016 Report giving great Clube Africa IE 2016 074insight into trends and predictions across the African business and development landscape.



Clube Africa IE 2016 427The stimulating panel discussion, which lasted for close to two hours, included discussions around the challenges and triumphs of doing business in Africa. Matt Pelton gave insights into growing need for business education in Africa, while KPGM’S Raphael Santi brought forward his take on intra-African trade. Discussion points also included, population growth and the potential it poses, technological advancements across the continent as well as industry-focused engagement on Nigeria’s Agriculture sector from Emeraba Tony-Uzoebo.

To conclude Africa Day 2016, a networking cocktail was held in the patio and garden of the grounds- an ideal opportunity for guests to have deeper discussions and connections.



Written By: Felicia Okoye, IE Africa Club President.


nigeria business leadersOpportunities come in different shapes and sizes. The key is to identify and capitalise on them when they arise. The Madrid marathon attracts world-wide attention. It is no wonder therefore, that some top business leaders from Nigeria were among those gearing up for the run.

IE Africa Club took this unique opportunity to meet these business leaders at the Impact Hub, Madrid. This was an opportunity to learn from veterans in business and entrepreneurs who are taking advantage of the investment climate in Africa to build and grow businesses.

The highlight of the event was the opportunity IE Africa Club members had to pitch their entrepreneurship and business ideas and receive immediate, value-adding feedback from the marathoners. Yet another opportunity to grow the vision and network of the IE Africa Club members.



Written by Matt Pelton (MIR 2014-15), the former program director of the Africa Awards for Entrepreneurship at the African Leadership Network

Paul-KagameIn November 2014, the African Leadership Network (ALN) hosted its fifth annual gathering in Kigali to celebrate and recognize Rwanda’s reconciliation and growth since the tragic genocide. 2014 marked the 20th anniversary of the 1994 Rwandan genocide against the Tutsi minority. A country divided due to its colonial legacy, ongoing tension between the Hutu and Tutsi had existed in Rwanda since a Hutu-led revolt brought independence from the Belgians in 1962. Today, the Land of a Thousand Hills boasts new state-of-the-art facilities, scores of tourists each year, some of the continent’s strongest education and healthcare programs, and a very conducive environment for entrepreneurs and foreign investors. While greater income equality and universal access to social services still must be achieved, the nation receives praises from around the world for its economic growth, social inclusion, and good governance.

IMG_8269-300x300ALN’s 2014 event convened 300 of its influential members and partners from across Africa and abroad. The group celebrated Rwanda’s impressive growth and aimed to learn leadership lessons from the public sector. His Excellency President Paul Kagame participated in an insightful dialogue on his personal journey and approach to leadership, as did other public sector leaders such as Rwandan Minister of Foreign Affairs Louise Mushikiwabo, Rwanda Development Board CEO Francis Gatare, former Zimbabwean Minister of Industry & International Trade Nkosona Moyo, and Tanzanian presidential candidate January Makamba. Sessions addressed the future of African cities, the Ebola crisis in West Africa, innovation in education models, inclusive financial services and technology, how to build an effective public sector, foreign policy as a driver of prosperity,and investment opportunities in Rwanda. Aligned with Rwanda’s focus on entrepreneurship and private sector growth, the Africa Awards for Entrepreneurship gala dinner honored the most innovative and inspiring entrepreneurs from across the continent. In addition, ALN officially launched its Ventures program, which is now sponsoring its inaugural class of entrepreneurs with funding, mentorship, and strategic support.

While Rwanda has made significant progress through its reconciliation and economic resurgence, arguments for greater political freedoms and participation still exist. As Amartya Sen presented in Development as Freedom, some could argue that true development is only achieved with the presence of political freedom, economic facilities, social opportunities, transparency guarantees, and protective security. Thus, some critics of Rwanda question whether the country should in fact be considered a bright story of governance and growth for the continent. Conversely, the global economic crisis showed us that the means to development need not always replicate the “Washington Consensus” of the West. The 2014 UNDP Human Development Report illustrates that Rwanda’s life expectancy, expected years of schooling, and GDP per capita (PPP) have improved drastically since 1980. Accordingly, such steady socio-economic improvements and the reconciliation of a divided country warrant recognition for the progress achieved by a government that inherited a dismal situation in the wake of the genocide.


2015 IE Africa Day

On this Thursday, an accomplished set of thought leaders from across Africa and Europe will convene with the IE community to share their insights and inspiring stories at the 2015 IE Africa Day, which is organized and hosted by the student-led Africa Club of IE Business School and IE University. This year’s theme Africa’s moving: the momentum waits for no one will highlight the diverse opportunities for global impact that the African continent can leverage through entrepreneurship, innovation, and its diverse culture and resources. ALN members Nuradin Osman, Jonathan Tawiah, and Isaac Oboth will be featured speakers at Africa Day, and ALN CEO Isaac Kwaku Fokuo, Jr. will hold seminars on China-Africa relations and entrepreneurship throughout the week. In addition, Spanish experts Rafael Gomez-Jordana Moya of Banco Santander, Grace Obado of Africa 2.0, and representatives from African embassies will provide local perspectives on how Spain and Africa can build stronger ties economically and politically.

As Rwanda’s case demonstrates, despite its tragic past and present-day critics, much of the African continent has laid the foundation for, and is working for, continued socio-economic progress and more inclusive growth. On Thursday 12th March, IE Africa Day aims to raise the profile of these trends on IE’s campus and in the greater Spanish community.


Evans-Wadongo_21102014-41Written By Matthew Pelton, IE Master in International Relations Student, 2014/2015 Intake

Kenyan entrepreneur Evans Wadongo, the Founder and Executive Director of Sustainable Development for All (SDFA), conducted a seminar with the MIR class on Tuesday 21 October.  Mr. Wadongo discussed his entrepreneurial journey from rural Kenya to the world stage, as an accomplished social entrepreneur recognized as a CNN Hero and Schwab Foundational Social Entrepreneur of the Year for the widespread impact of his solar lantern enterprise.   Building off the MIR’s Base of the Pyramid workshop, the session addressed the power of innovation and entrepreneurship in Africa and discussed the changing relations within Africa and between Africa and the world.  The session concluded with interactive Q&A on recent course topics, and MIR student Matt Pelton provided context based on his previous work experiences at the African Leadership Network.

Innovation and Opportunities

As economic growth continues, and the “Africa Rising” story garners attention, there are questions whether social development is following closely behind.  The UNDP’s Human Development Index (HDI) might provide a different perspective.  The continent’s largest economy, Nigeria, ranks very low (#152 out of 187) based on the most recent HDI data.  As such, there still is a need for African entrepreneurs to create social impact through their businesses.  With foreign aid and government initiatives further removed from the needs and opportunities in local communities, Mr. Wadongo emphasized the significant opportunity to build innovative, local solutions from the bottom up. Using savings from his student loan, Mr. Wadongo developed a simple solution to a widespread problem.  He grew up in rural Kenya and developed eye sight problems at a young age due to kerosene oil.  His solar lanterns are made from recycled materials and provide a sustainable and healthier alternative to more expensive kerosene lanterns.  SDFA’s innovative business model provides solar lanterns on loan to women, who then use their kerosene savings to start businesses that support their households.  SDFA provides capacity-building support to the women entrepreneurs and to the unemployed youth that are trained to build the low-cost lanterns. Africa has become a growing hub for technology entrepreneurs in recent years (World Bank blog), but innovation can be found in sectors beyond technology and energy, such as financial services, agriculture, and education.  Examples provided in the seminar included a nano-lending mobile platform based in Kenya, an organic fertilizer made from bat droppings found in Madagascar caves, and an innovative chain of low-cost African universities, among others.  The continent’s population is rapidly growing, and UNICEF believes the youth population (under 18 years) will grow to nearly 1 billion by 2050.  Entrepreneurship and related education initiatives will play a key role in ensuring that unemployment is minimized through sufficient job creation.  With proper education and job opportunities, youth will be less likely to join rebel groups and extremist terrorism organizations, which recently has become a threat to local and international security. 

Changing International Dynamics

From a global perspective, Africa has been termed the “final frontier” with scores of investors and multinational corporations looking to opportunities on the continent.  Africa has become China’s largest investment destination with increased trade and direct investment.  Simlarly, the European Union (EU) and United States have made pushes to grow their influence and trade in the region, evidenced by the recent EU-East Africa Community (EAC) Trade Deal and U.S.-Africa Leaders’ Summit. Thus it seems these global powers have shifted focus to Africa not only to maximize economic opportunities but more importantly to maintain a geopolitical influence in the region. Internally, the African Union (AU) aims to create an integrated, prosperous, and peaceful Africa.  Mr. Wadongo acknowledged that, while the AU could provide more support to entrepreneurs, the AU’s impact can be seen through its integration agenda and joint initiatives, such as its peacekeeping mission in Somalia.  Traditionally operating in siloes, Mr. Wadongo reinforced the importance of regional trading communities, such as the EAC, Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), and Southern African Development Community (SADC).  Through regional trading blocs, African countries can leverage a growing interest in African markets to negotiate for more competitive deals with independent states, multinational corporations, and international organizations such as the EU.   Regional integration is also a key initiative of non-governmental African platforms (like the African Leadership Network), which view regional collaboration as the first step to intra-African trade and pan-African partnerships, two essential drivers of socio-economic growth.  Mr. Wadongo will attend African Leadership Network’s fifth annual gathering in Kigali from November 5-8, 2014.  The event will celebrate Lessons of Leadership that African entrepreneurs and leaders can learn from Rwanda’s reconciliation and impressive development since the 1994 genocide. 

Africa represents 54 countries with diverse cultures, histories, and challenges.  As Mr. Wadongo explained, entrepreneurs must embrace the problems that they face in their communities and develop innovative solutions that can have a real impact on the lives of African people at the base of the pyramid.

For updates from the event, Follow @Prosper4Africa on Twitter or Like African Leadership Network on Facebook.

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