Kigali to host GEC+Africa in 2019
25 Oct 2018

GEN Africa, which operates pan-African projects as part of the Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN), has announced that it has selected Kigali to host its first GEC+Africa event, to be held 7-8 August 2019 at the Kigali Convention Centre.

GEC+Africa, a new initiative of GEN Africa that was launched in 2017 at the Global Entrepreneurship Congress (GEC) in Johannesburg, will gather investors, startups, accelerators and other entrepreneurial support organisations from across the continent.  

The announcement followed a visit to Rwanda where a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between GEN Africa, led by Kizito Okechukwu, and the CEO of the Rwandan Convention Bureau, Denise Omany.

“After meeting with ministers, CEOs and most importantly young students, I am even more confident that Rwanda is an ideal place to convene entrepreneurs and those backing them seeking to scale Africa’s entrepreneurial ecosystem and performance,” said Okechukwu. “I have experienced both the warm hospitality and determination of Rwanda’s leaders in securing the rights to host this important event in Rwanda.”

GEC+Africa is aligned with the African Union Agenda 2063 “The Africa We Want,” which aims to create an Africa whose development is people-driven, relying on the potential of African people, especially its women and youth. This GEC+Africa will focus on six key sectors – agriculture, education, energy, e-commerce, finance, health, technology, and transportation.

Rwanda Convention Bureau Chief Executive Officer Mrs Denise B. Omany said that, “As MICE tourism destination, we are thrilled to be hosting a progressive event like GEC + Africa for the first time. This event is expected to bring in 1000+ International delegates to participate in the event, any efforts to inspire and educate budding entrepreneurs is certainly encouraged here in Rwanda. 

Post event, as Global Entrepreneurship Network are working on creating one global entrepreneurial ecosystem, we were pleased to learn that GEN in partnership with the Government of Rwanda will be opening the doors of their Rwanda branch, which will act as a HUB advancing research and creating new and innovative startups.” 

Rwanda is a vibrant economy with energetic and motivated young people. The economy grew at 6.7% in the last quarter and recorded an unemployment rate of 16%. The government’s ambition to reshape and empower its youth after the 1994 genocide, is evident in the refurbished infrastructure and the various support and educational programmes that are in place. The country is also driving tourism and has made it a key focus area over the next few years. 

GEC+Africa will also welcome African ministers – a vital missing link in the support system for entrepreneurs – who will discuss reforms for policies that continue to hinder the development of startups. The GEC+Africa ministerial meeting – held as part of the global Startup Nations Ministerial process – will be chaired by Vincent Munyeshyaka, Rwandan Minister of Trade and Industry. It will be co-hosted by Rosemary Mbabazi, Rwandan Minister of Youth, and Jean de Dieu Rurangirwa, Rwandan Minister of Information Technology and Communications and about other 25 Ministers from the rest of the African continent. 

As part of the road to this important event, Rwandans will celebrate Global Entrepreneurship Week from the 9-16 November, 2018 during which further details about GEC+Africa will be announced.

About the Global Entrepreneurship Network
The Global Entrepreneurship Network operates a platform of programmes in 170 nations aimed at making it easier for anyone, anywhere to start and scale a viable business. GEN helps celebrate, understand, support and connect entrepreneurs and those who champion them. 

GEN Africa brings together a broad collection of start-up ecosystem leaders throughout the continent to power the next generation of entrepreneurs in Africa. Its vision is to transform and scale the entrepreneurial landscape with customized support and development programs, connecting African startups – and the organisations that support them – to a global network that can help drive innovation and economic growth.

Thabo Thema

Creative Director | GEN SouthAfrica

Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN) launches startups that bring ideas to life, drive economic growth and expand human welfare