Friends of Africa 2015

Friends of Africa (FOA) 2015 Economic Development Conference- Report

The Friends of Africa (FOA) Economic Development Conference held on the 3rd of October 2015 at the Grand Ball Room of the Marriott Hotel And Conference Centre, Toronto.

Click here to download the FOA 2015 Report

PreConference Dinner

2nd October: FOA 2015 kicked off on 2nd October 2015 with a pre-Conference dinner of participants. Members of Casa Foundation Governing Council hosted professionals and delegates to dinner. At the event were delegates from Nigeria includingMr Yinka Oyebode, Executive Assistant to Dr. Fayemi (Governor of Ekiti, 2014), Dr. Funmi Williams Dawodu, Abuja, Nigeria.Dr. Adekunle Adegbulu, Director at Oasis Healthled a team of professionals from Calgary, Canada.

Breakfast Business Meetings

3rd October: FOA 2015 Economic Conference openedwith Business Breakfast meetings for the Business CommunitywithintheAfrican Diaspora from the Ghanaian, Nigerian, Kenyan, and South African Communities. Dr. Kayode Fayemi’s representative chaired the meeting. In attendance were the Vice President of Mine Africa, Wayne Floreani, the Managing Director of CPCS Development International, Nate Lowbeer-Lewis, and Helen Hillman of the Ontario Government. FOA 2015 welcomed the African Diaspora including Emmanuel Duodu, President Ghanaian/Canadian association, Jeff Sackey of Multimedia Group, Ghana, Wayne Floreani, Board Director of Canada/Southern African Chamber of Commerce. Other Business delegates and friends of East Africa were in attendance, including Njeri Rionge, MD/CEO of Networks, Business Research Capital (NBRC Inc.), Chris Janssen, CEO-Textbook for Change, Canada,Sergei Kaznadi CEO, Mercedes Benz, Toronto,and Joe Sebeh of CTC World.

FOA 2015- An Economic Development Conference

3rd October: The FOA Economic development conference opened on the 3rd October 2015 with a Welcome address by the President of Casa Foundation, Olutoyin Oyelade anda Goodwill message from Dr.Kayode Fayemi of Nigeria. Hon.Monte Kwinter, Member of Parliament and5-time ON Ministersent the Goodwill messagefrom Canada. Hon. Jim Karygiannis, Federal Parliamentarian (2014) andMember of Toronto City brought greetingsfrom Canada. AllPapers are listed in theCasaFoundation Repository.

FOA 2015 witnessed a gathering of professionals, entrepreneurs, business owners, and public sector leaders from vertical sectors ofCanada, USA, Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania, Nigeria, and the UK to participate at the roundtable sessions on the theme The New Middle Class – Bridging Economic Disparities. Speakers were drawn from diverse professional and industry segments to share their insights on the Middle class trajectory citingcase studies from Nigeria,Kenya,Uganda, and the US.

FOA 2015featured 3 Panel Sessions. Presentations focused on Youth Job Strategy and Financing Options for the Middle Class by the Ontario government. Doing business in Africa case studies were presented by CEOs of Africafocused firms in Canada, while the Keynote addressed majorindices on how the middle class covers the gaps in economic disparities focusing on Africa’s emerging opportunities for SMEs. Download Presentationsat The Repository

Session One:

Youth Job Strategy Roundtable:

Moderator: Wayne Floreani, VP Mine Africa, Director, Canada/South Africa Chamber

Tanya Pelcher-Herring (Ph.D., D.Mgt.)-Workforce Development Expert from University of Maryland, USA discussed the youth job strategy and workforce development in Canada.

Amanda Armstrong, Youth Entrepreneur and Social Developer drew samples from her recent two-month research visit to East Africa andpresented case studies of SMEs dominating technology hubs in Kenya,Uganda, and Rwanda, which Canadians and African Diasporans could benchmark.

Finance Roundtable

Helen Hillman, Business Advisory, Ministry of Economic Development, Government of Ontario

Senior executivein the Business Development Group of the Ministry of Economic Development, Trade & Industry, Canada showcased the available funding opportunities by the Government of Ontario for SMEs and Entrepreneurs. Special vehicles, funds, and grants available to entrepreneurs were unveiled at the business roundtable and a later breakout session discussed accessibility and qualifiers for the SME dedicated funds and grants.

Session Two

Public and Private Sector: Doing Business In Africa

Moderator: Nate Lowbeer-Lewis-MD, CPCS International, Development

Olutoyin Oyelade, Managing Partner/CEO InVcap presented case studies of Middle class businesses investing in real estate and hospitality sectors in Africaand how they have changed the business dynamics of Africa.

Nate Lowbeer-Lewis, MD, CPCS International,Development discussed CPCS’s (A Canadian F500 in 115 Countries)power sector projectsin Africa and how the Middle Class could participate in these ventures.

Hon. Jim Karygiannis- Federal Member of Parliament (2014), Chair of House Committee on Nigeria, Coptic’s Egypt, and Democratic Republic of Congo presentedpublic sector approach to middle class business management and how professionals can target partnership opportunities within Ontario to impact Africa’s development.

Session Three:Keynote/Luncheon Address

Introductions: Olutoyin Oyelade- President, Casa Foundation

Dr. Kayode Fayemi- Gov. of Ekiti (2011-2014) -Represented

Presented FOA 2015 Keynote Address at the Luncheon session. The address provideddata that indicates that Africa’s Middle class has the potential to bridge the current gaps in energy, mineral resources, and other infrastructure sectors, andcould facilitate economicdevelopment if mentored and supported by private sector intervention funds.

Awards Session: Friend of Africa (FOA) Hall of Fame

At FOA 2015, Arc Olusola Oyelade, Chair of Casa Foundation Governing Board, announced to conference delegates the Inductees into the FOA Hall of Fame.Two outstanding recipients of FOA Awards were presented by Casa FoundationBoard for induction into Hall of Fame: They are:

Both recipients were welcomed into the FOA Hall of Fame by the Chair, Casa Foundation whileDr. Kayode Fayemi’s representative; Mr.Yinka Oyebodedecorated the Inductees with the FOAHall of Fame Medal.Read more:

PostConference Events

5th October: AnnouncingInternship Program For Diasporans

The office of Hon. Jim Karygiannis (Representing Scarborough, Agincourt) at the Toronto Cityannounced anInternship Program for Diasporansin Partnership with Casa Foundation.The Internship will focus on mentoring and training for interested candidates in the area ofEconomic, Business,and Political empowerment. The Internship willbe availed to 2 candidatespersessionand starts in the summer of2016. Duration is8-12 weeks. More info will be provided to Interested candidates. Do send an email

Casa Foundation/FOA 5th Year Anniversary Celebrations

Announcing the Winner of Casa Foundation’s2Bedroom Vacation VillaNights

Casa Foundation and Friends of Africacelebrated the5th year anniversarywith delegates at FOA2015.The event featured a draw for FOA delegatesto win a main prize of a 3-day, 2-Bedroom Vacation Villa Home in the USA. Mr Emmanuel Duodu, President, Ghanaian/Canadian Association won the 3 vacation days atMyrtle Beach Resorts inSouthCarolina, USA.

Below: Mr Duodu receives his gift certificate at the Draw. Casa Foundation wishes him the best. 

Casa Foundation Scholarship Is Launched

Casa Foundation LaunchedThe Casa Foundation Scholarshipswith its Partners at Centennial College andSheridan College in Canada at FOA 2015.The 2 Canadian Institutions have signed memorandum of Agreement (MOU) on the scholarship disbursement processes. Applications are now being received from qualified candidates. Click for details ofCasaScholarship Processes

AfroInvestors Is Launched

The Casa Foundation and FOA 5th year anniversary celebrations also featured the launch of AfroInvestors Magazine. The Magazine is an Invaluable tool for Businesses in North America, Africa, and those looking to do business in the Frontier markets. AfroInvestors is distributed across Chambers of commerce, Embassies, and government offices in Canada, Ghana, and Nigeria. Airlines such as Air Canada, Lufthansa, and United will distribute copies of AfroInvestors Download a free copy on your mobiledevice. Send us your comments and Adverts

Click the links below for Full Details and Reports of the FOA 2014 Conference

For Conference Materials & Highlights

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For Inductees into ‘FOA’ Hall of Fame

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For A Profile of Casa Foundation

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For Conference Pictures

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For Conference Videos

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For News Reports

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Registration is required to access conference materials. Click Here for Access

Appreciation: We thank you all for making it a date with us and look forward to welcoming you to FOA 2016. Partner with us to Raise Hope Again.Share the Newswith your Community by Tweets and on FacebookClick for FOA Pix2015