Investors, health care specialists, media workers and scholars were among the people who gathered for the launch of a new organisation to promote business opportunities in a region of the world dubbed "the cradle of humankind" because it is where men and women first walked the earth.
The East Africa Business Network (EABN) was unveiled with speeches from the editor of Britain's first citizen journalism news portal and a top academic who specialises in mental health.
Marc Wadsworth, editor of The-latest.com, said, at the event held yesterday at the prestigious Saint George's hotel in central London, next to the BBC headquarters: "This is a wonderful occasion because it is the start of an important opportunity for African people in the diaspora to network and do business together."
He added: "When I refurbished my home, I had a white builder and my carpenter, plasterer, tiler, electrician, painters and decorators and plumber were black. We must employ each other, based, of course, on the highest possible standards."
Fellow guest speakers Dr Joe Mairura, the Kenyan director of Imara Development Programmes, said: "We, as people in the African diaspora, need to know the difference between being wealthy as individuals and creating wealth in our community - the latter is more important than the former."
She said: "EABN aims to create a gateway into East Africa and help members of the diaspora here in the United Kingdom grow their business potential. With rising unemployment and Europe’s seemingly bleak outlook economically, more people are looking into establishing their own businesses and more industries are looking at Africa for trade and investment opportunities and solutions. As a result, now becomes a key moment to build relationships and invest in the emerging and established markets in East Africa."
The objectives of EABN include:
- Regular Networking
- Making referrals
- Improving business practice through education among members
- Helping people access desired contacts and learn about East African markets
- Sharing a relevant business directory among members
- Promoting East Africa as a cost-effective investment destination
- Encouraging consolidation and team-work within the network
* Photography: David Mbiyu