The Africa-America Institute (AAI) has big dreams for the people of Africa—and most importantly, it has strategies for making those dreams a reality.
For more than 60 years, the New York-based organization has worked to empower Africa’s youth with the professional training they need to be competitive, marketable and economically successful within their communities. Today AAI is one of the leading forums for issues related to education and workforce development in Africa.
From technical training and university scholarships, to high-profile events that engage policy advocates, influential leaders and donors, AAI uses multifaceted outreach strategies to promote a better quality of life in Africa.
The need for outreach campaigns within Africa and the rest of the international community is clear. Although many of the world’s fastest-growing economies are in Africa, only 5 percent of adults in Africa have enrolled in higher education programs, compared with 69 percent of North Americans and Europeans. Additionally, 60 percent of Africa’s youth are unemployed, despite the fact that they comprise nearly 40 percent of the working-age population.
For the United States and other industrialized nations, bolstering developing countries is not only beneficial from a global economic standpoint; it also is vital for helping these countries to be self-sufficient and to retain a competitive workforce that satisfies their employment needs.
AAI and The Wakeman Agency partnered up to convey this message to the people of Africa as well as to Americans who are interested in getting involved in revolutionizing the economic culture of Africa. We are honored to work with AAI to effectively market its goals and facilitate events that spark a life-changing passion among Africa’s youth and other interested parties.
AAI is working to address Africa’s educational and professional disparities to help Africans navigate the opportunities that currently exist, as well as to prepare them to compete in an increasingly ambitious marketplace. The task involves honing existing talent in addition to encouraging youth and adults alike to obtain 21st-century training, which will ultimately get them in the driver’s seat of their growing economies.
The Wakeman Agency places a high priority on implementing AAI’s vision in a way that garners support and reinforces the positive impact of its transformative programs. In support of AAI’s mission, we recently produced two of its premier events—the Talent Summit and the State of Education in Africa Conference—which entailed the identification of potential speakers, theme building, creation of course descriptions, outreach to speakers and panelists, and traditional event planning services.
The Talent Summit connected individuals who were interested in working in Africa-focused STEM fields with potential employers from the corporate, government and nonprofit sectors. This multi-platform event provided networking opportunities as well as a study of how the growth of the healthcare, technology and skilled labor sectors are shaping Africa’s economy. Attendees interfaced with representatives from such organizations as the Global Access Health Network, Face2Face Africa, General Electric Africa, Tiphub Africa, and many others.
The State of Education in Africa Conference explored various approaches to strengthening education institutions in Africa and improving the quality of education at all levels. The event united educators and innovators from both Africa and the United States behind the goal of developing Africa’s global competitiveness through a more comprehensive, higher-quality education system. Speakers included Patrick G. Awuah Jr., founder and president of Ashesi University College in Ghana; Tade Akin Aina, program director of Higher Education and Libraries in Africa at the Carnegie Corporation; and a number of panelists and professionals.
Both the summit and the conference were tremendous successes. The approximately 80 job candidates who attended the Talent Summit greatly benefited from networking with top recruiters, leading to many employment opportunities and a keen understanding of Africa’s educational and professional potential.
The State of Education in Africa Conference had sold-out attendance and enthusiastic reviews from the roughly 150 attendees. In fact, the conference was so successful that AAI is hosting a second conference, which we look forward to producing next year in Africa.
Through targeted messaging and theme building, we effectively ignited interest among attendees to participate in the shaping of a prosperous, competitive African economy, building that success from the ground up. As AAI continues to craft more programs that focus on workforce development in Africa and promote an influx of talent to the continent, The Wakeman Agency is committed to conveying AAI’s mission to be an impactful forum on Africa’s economic revitalization.