Realising Africa’s Potential

By Paddy Anigbo, Member, TEDxEuston Organising Team

TEDxEuston: Challenging Conventional Wisdom

This year on 1 December 2012, TEDxEuston will be “Challenging Conventional Wisdom” on several issues relating to the African continent at the beautiful Mermaid Conference Centre on the bank of the Thames. This will be the fourth edition of TEDxEuston that started with two London based African doctors who were invited to the TEDGlobal Conference in Arusha, Tanzania in 2007.

The energy from that 2007 event led Chikwe and Ike to make the decision to apply for a TEDx licence and organise the first TEDxEuston Conference at UCL in 2009, focusing on the African Diaspora. By this time, TED had already put on stage many amazing and inspiring stories out of the continent, including talks by Patrick Awuah, Ory Okolloh and Ngozi Okonjo Iweala.

William had already harnessed the wind following his debut at Arusha. I was hooked by the possibilities that exist with a platform focused on the stories as told by Africans on the African reality. This is so important, as beautifully told in a story by award winning writer, Chimamanda Adichie at TEDGlobal 2009.

Since TEDxEuston’s debut conference in London in 2009, more stories have been told to an inspired audience with the focus strongly shifting to the enormous business potential of the continent. In that time, we have had inspirational African entrepreneurs like Landmark’s Paul Onwuanibe in 2010 who told his story of moving his business home. Last year, we were all inspired by Herman “Powering The African Market Place”.

Through it all, the TEDxEuston family have been inspired and re-energised to seek business backed solutions to the challenges in Africa. There are many stories everyday of business people taking the bold step to venture to the continent and the amazing successes they have achieved. In January this year, after 3 years as CNN’s West African Correspondent from his base in Nigeria, Christian Purefoy, left the network to start Battabox – “..a Nigerian Conversation”. The continent is inspiring people to go for it!!

For us at TEDxEuston, some of the less recognised contribution to bringing these stories to stage is that of our supporters and partners. Last year, with weeks to TEDxEuston 2011, we got introduced to Business Fights Poverty and Business Action for Africa. The synergy with what TEDxEuston represents was easy to see and we welcomed them as media partners for the event. This year Zahid and the BFP/BAA team continue to do work behind the scene supporting TEDxEuston. We now have a TEDxEuston microsite set up here on Business Fights Poverty and will stream the event live on this page for those of us that cannot make it to London.

This year we have our usual sterling line up of inspirational speakers – some very well-known and the usual crop of “ace up our sleeves” stories that will leave you inspired. Tickets are going very fast as we found in the previous years so grab yours before it is sold out and come down and join the conversations.

For tickets click here

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TEDxEuston is organised by a group of 16 African Professionals on a 100% volunteer basis and is a not for profit organisation.

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