When thinking about Africa, words like be “War”, “Disease”, “Corruption”, and “Safari” may come to mind. But this is not truly Africa. In this TEDxBeijing Talk, Helen Hai, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization Goodwill Ambassador for industrialization in Africa, brings out the often overlooked side of Africa through three personal stories. Helen explains why she chose Ethiopia, which ranked 125th in World Bank Doing Business Report at the time, as the location to start a shoe factory. Secondly, the problems she encountered when doing business in Africa. Lastly, how her childhood experiences triggered her to help Ethiopia find the right path of development, and change the lives of many local people.
CEO of the Made in Africa Initiative, which advises the governments of Ethiopia, Rwanda and Senegal for industrialization and investment promotion. Ambassador Hai is Co-Founder of C&H Garments, which is a pioneer Pan-African export-oriented garments manufacturer with presence in Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda and Senegal.
Ambassador Hai was trained as an actuary in the United Kingdom with 15 years of international experience in FTSE100 companies. She served previously as Vice President and Chief Actuary for Zurich Financial Services in China, and a Partner in Jardine Lloyd Thompson Group in London. Ambassador Hai was named a 2015 Global Young Leader by World Economic Forum and received the 2015 African Business Icon Award.
This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at http://ted.com/tedx
The 300 RMB tickets were almost sold out by the time I purchased my ticket on the evening before the event. Luckily I took the proactive step of contacting the organisers and asking them to reserve a ticket for a fellow TEDx organiser from South Africa.
The venue was packed – always a good sign.
TEDx SPEAKERS HIGHLIGHTS:
Rubén Salgado Escudero: It’s always difficult being the opening speaker. Even though there was sound problems, Ruben recovered quickly. His freelance photography from Myanmar was inspired by the impact solar lighting is making in this developing country, the poorest among its South East Asian peers.
Ching Tien: A speaker who packs powerful emotional impact. She runs a charity: Educating Girls of Rural China. During the Cultural Revolution she was sent to Gansu province, in a rural, western part of China. Despite great difficulties, she eventually moved to Canada. It was a little ironic when she quoted Chairman Mao, “Women can hold up half of heaven.”
Greg Smith: He delivered an interesting talk on the pros and cons of building highways. He is the Asia-Pacific lead for the International Road Assessment Programme (iRAP), a UK-based charity dedicated to creating a world free of high-risk roads.
Hu Weiwei (MoBike): A crowd pleaser for sure. This female entrepreneur shared her passion for encouraging more young people to use bicycles in Beijing and other big cities around China. Ironically, it reminded me of the Katie Melua lyrics, “there are 9 million bicycles in Beijing…”
Saki Chen: This was supposed to be much more exciting as a TEDx Talk. She showed video clips of her in action as the first female-Chinese solo pilot to fly a light aircraft around-the-world. There’s an expression – dynamite comes in small packages – that best describes this young lady.
Qichao Hu: An applied physicist graduate from Harvard. This was a fascinating delivery of a hardcore geek business, i.e. improving battery performance while reducing the size. The potential for providing high altitude wireless Internet through drone technology is astounding. What most impressed me was the developers’ ability to reduce the battery size while doubling the capacity compared with batteries used in the iPhone 6.
Hu Yihan: Another impressive topic, using big data for medical challenges in China and worldwide. There was no mention of privacy concerns during this talk. However, the benefits of the medical advances made in this field may outweigh everything else in the short term.
Yuan Chen: This lady spoke confidently about her work. I did not access the interpretation provided, so I did not get the gist of the topic, except that she has an impressive track record with a Ph.D. and experience in Nigeria and India.
Mario Zaccagnini: What a delightful treat. This food entrepreneur delivered a presentation that I’m sure Ellen DeGeneres or Oprah would have enjoyed. Since moving to Beijing, he has started several successful restaurant ventures: Eatalia Group (La Dolce Vita, Carpe Diem, Unique), Galleria and Feel Bar.
Chen Xu: the Director of the Greater China Observatory Group, responsible for business development and public relations in the Greater China Region.
Hao Zhou: is the founder and CEO of QuantGroup, a web-based credit scoring and data mining system that assesses risk for large institutions, including the Federal Reserve, totalling hundreds of billions of dollars.