Home / Innovate  / Conferences  / NYU Stern In Africa Business Forum Explores Africa Reaching Its Tipping Point

NYU Stern In Africa Business Forum Explores Africa Reaching Its Tipping Point

In his debut book Malcolm Gladwell defines the tipping point as “the moment of critical mass, the threshold, and the boiling point”. His book, aptly named The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a

In his debut book Malcolm Gladwell defines the tipping point as “the moment of critical mass, the threshold, and the boiling point”. His book, aptly named The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference seeks to explain and describe the mysterious sociological changes that mark everyday life. These sociological changes include patterns of interactions, relationships, and culture that lead to ideas, products, messages, and behaviors that inevitably spark change.


On Saturday, October 28th, 2017 the NYU Stern School of Business hosted The Stern in Africa Business Forum and the focus of the day was The Tipping Point: Accelerating Africa’s Agenda. The day was full of information on the ideas, products, and messages that are bubbling, teeming, and creating change and opportunities in Africa.


Waste-to-energy is the process of generating energy in the form of electricity and/or heat from the primary treatment of waste. This form of energy recovery is not a new development, but the interest in this established sector is heating up significantly across a number of developing markets including Africa.


Ahurst, a global law firm involved in the development of these types of projects, wrote in an article on waste-to-energy that “over the last 10 years, there has been a number of notable developments across Africa and internationally which have combined to create a favorable climate for the development of new waste management infrastructure in the region.”


Entrepreneurs like Samuel Alemayehu, Head of Africa & Managing Director at Cambridge Industries Ltd., is taking advantage of the favorable climate and is leading the way in the waste-to-energy movement in Africa. Samuel co-founded Cambridge Industries Ltd. to accelerate the implementation of pioneering infrastructure projects in Africa and is currently overseeing the construction of the first municipal waste-to-energy facility in Africa.


African fashions can be found all over the western world these days as African American celebrities, and the like, are sporting more wax prints and accessories in magazines, blogs, videos, and social media posts. It seems indigenous style is all the rave, and it has awakened many to the opportunity to become a conduit for the migration of key influential styles from Africa to America.


During the “State of the African Fashion Industry” panel, Hayat Adem, Founder of Marzam, an East African lifestyle and accessories brand, spoke about her goal to connect Ethiopian styles with the rest of the world using custom designs and making them fashion-forward. Adem’s brand has pivoted from the much more saturated clothing sector, and now brings Ethiopian accessories’ styles to life through their online store.


As stated on the Stern In Africa website, “there has been a huge rise in consumers as content creators on the internet – travel and lifestyle bloggers and food vloggers, tell unique stories [about Africa] and provide entertainment to their followers.” The Future Media: Content is King panel led by Tayo Rockson, CEO and Founder of UYD Media dug into how Africa’s music and media is on course to become mainstream. Curiosity about African music and media is teeming as Pan African brands like Essence are expanding and launching key events like Essence Fest Durban and African artist like WizKid and Patoranking partner with mainstream artists like Drake and Machel Montano.


In a time where there are a lot of eyes on African culture, Michael Rain, Co-Founder and COO of ZNews Africa states it is imperative to make sure we are telling our own stories in all areas of our life. Rain says, “What I don’t want is people becoming mainstream off of white media and then becoming the symbol of Africa without actually having real Africans that support them and are invested in them.”


He continued, “if we are not impacted to feel empowered to tell our stories wherever we are, in school, at work, or with friends they [will not] see [Africa] in actuality then it just becomes something that is [still] not real to the world.”


Rain believes that telling our authentic stories through all media outlets will build the proper foundation to sustain a constant authentic narrative of Africa. In the meantime, the resources are available on the web for all those who have the talent to add more heat to the teeming narrative of Africa.


Overall energy, fashion, music, and media are some of the main industries that seem to be bringing Africa closer to its tipping point and this will be an internal and external effort. If you are a part of the effort it is a great time to align yourself with platforms, do what you do well, build your audience, go to your audience, be consistent, and continue to build key relationships and partnerships to continue to accelerate Africa’s agenda.


By Inez A. Nelson


Inez A. Nelson is Founder of It’s Deeper Than Travel, a travel and event company that is perfecting cultural, co-working, and travel experiences to increase the frequency of positive exchanges between Pan African leaders and promote positive impact in the communities they serve.  Having visited over 10 countries across 5 continents in the last 5 years, Inez is a conduit for inclusion and harmony is known for her premier voluntourist vacation itineraries for urban influencers to countries in the African Diaspora.

Applause Africa
For 12 years Applause Africa has been at the vanguard of African Diaspora achievements, news and innovations. We are committed to celebrate, empower and connect all members of the African Diaspora with authenticity and love.
Review overview