Forbes Under 30 Summit Africa Opens, Held For The Third Year In Gaborone

Published 21 days ago
Igor Barandovski for Forbes_U30AFRICA_2024_IMG_8035
Photo: Igor Barandovski for Forbes

Held for the third consecutive year in Botswana, the Forbes Under 30 Summit Africa welcomed delegates from all over the world last night at a grand opening ceremony celebrating youth entrepreneurship. In the country’s capital, Gaborone, thousands flocked to the historic Main Mall and square, ready to be part of the ‘pan-African celebration’.

The four-day event kicked off with a concert headlined by both local and international artists. Those in attendance also used the opportunity to network with young entrepreneurs from across Africa.

“I have never been to Africa,” said South Korean Dae Young Kim, 2017 Under 30 lister (Aisa) and CEO of Manimal Tribe. The restaurateur has attended other Under 30 summits in 2023 and was keen to be at an African edition and learn more about the food and beverage (F&B) industry on the continent. “I am not looking for anything specifically because the entire program looks amazing but I do hope to meet more people in my industry. Because I would like to see what F&B looks like here and maybe even see if there are collaboration opportunities, who knows?”

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Photo by Ilan Godfrey for Forbes

Even the locals in attendance at the summit’s opening were enthralled. “Even before the main event, this has been an amazing experience,” said Belindah Wetshootile, a makeup artist as well as owner of a catering company in Botswana. “This has been a great networking opportunity to speak to young like-minded entrepreneurs.”

“I am an early childhood educator and I am also an entrepreneur who runs my own business,” Botswana local, Bonolo Raowang, added. Both Wetshootile and Raowan say such an event allows for bigger companies to recognize the entrepreneurial and creative spirit in Africa’s smaller economies like Botswana.

But Raowang would like for the momentum to continue through the year, and not only when the event happens. “This event has been amazing for exposure. But what happens when Forbes leaves? Look how talented we are, look how amazing we are. I would like for us to continue this buzz even after the event.”

The eager crowds outside the Cresta President Hotel, known as a legacy hotel, overlooking the main stage, waited for performances from Han-C, DBN Gogo and an international set by Nick Cannon. But what brought the house down was Afrobeats artist Stanley Omah Didia, known professionally as Omah Lay, who took to the stage to perform his biggest songs such as People and Soso.

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The summit will kick off discussions at the Royal Aria Conference Center in Gabarone today and will include big-hitters such as Didia but also such names as Judy Dlamini, Founder and Executive Chairman, Mbekani Group; actress, humanitarian and UNHCR goodwill ambassador Nomzamo Mbatha, Ben Amadasun, Netflix’s VP of Content for Middle East and Africa, and many more.