June 16, 2020

#SPARKlistens: Podcast mini series

On the fringes of our annual IGNITE conference, Andile Masuku, host of the African Tech Roundup podcast, recorded six exclusive episodes with key influencers on policy, politics and research across some of the world’s most fragile regions.


You’ll hear stories of programme implementers who are transforming the power balance in development cooperation from the Global North to the Global South, tech entrepreneurs who are boosting youth employment and researchers with concrete evidence for why empowering women entrepreneurs should remain a universal priority.

Listen to four of the episodes now and hear three more podcasts in this series.


1. Hacking The Economic Potential of Refugee Communities

with Josephine Goube & Ahmad Sufian Bayramwith Josephine Goube & Ahmad Sufian Bayram



Joséphine Goube, CEO of Techfugees and Ahmad Sufian Bayram, Regional Manager for Techstars, discuss building relevant tech solutions that harness the economic potential of refugee communities.


Josephine Goube, CEO of TechRefugees © 2019, SPARK

Goube and her team support refugees to build their own companies in digital spheres. However, there are unique challenges to doing business that only refugees face. Ahmad Sufian Bayram, an experienced social entrepreneur, and author of books on supporting refugees’ access to entrepreneurship, discusses ecosystem development. 

He and his team are spending 6 months in vulnerable states, speaking with people in order to understand how societies operate in conflict-affected regions and how they can support young businesses, in order to boost business opportunities for refugee entrepreneurs.


2. Creative Entrepreneurial Moves & Relevant Investment Support

with Regis Umugiraneza & Roy Budjhawan


Two unlikely characters discover their link via the humble sweet potato in this episode. Roy Budjhawan, Head of Impact Financing at ING, a Dutch banking and financial services corporation, talks to Regis Umugiraneza, a young agro-processing entrepreneur based in Rwanda. 

Regis Umugiraneza at IGNITE 2019 © 2019, SPARK

Regis came up with an idea during his studies, to make pasta out of sweet potato. He went on to co-found CARL group, which makes sweet potato products, such as their best selling Vitabread. His business is tackling malnutrition and vitamin deficiency in his country. 

Roy too has experience with entrepreneurship and agribusiness. At ING now, he and his team are financing innovative early business ventures. He says, “the most important is trust to entrepreneurs”. The two innovators bring different perspectives to the need for investment for young businesses.


3. Three Arab Women Factor in on the Economic Benefits of Backing Women Entrepreneurs



Three women, three stories. Firstly, Hala Bugaighis, a law expert who co-founded Jusoor Centre for Studies and Development, a Libyan think tank focusing on economic development of women. Secondly, Jumana Salous who is Programme Manager of the Business Women Forum Palestine, an organisation that empowers women founders and SMEs. Finally, Lamia Tarabiah, the Jordanian founder of Nawaret Haretna, a women-focused community centre supporting entrepreneurs.

From left to right: Jumana Salous, Lamia Tarabiah, Andile Masuku and Hala Bugaighis at IGNITE 2019 © 2019, SPARK

During the live, on-stage interview during the IGNITE conference in Amsterdam, host Andile Masuku, discusses women entrepreneurship in the Middle East. Hala and Lamia highlight how it is easier for men to become entrepreneurs yet outline how their organisations support women to establish their own companies. 

Within Palestinian context, the entrepreneurs Jumana supports also face the challenges of living under occupation. She and her team work to provide support and right networks, which “help companies to expand and enter different markets through different services”.


4. Constructive Development Finance Frameworks 
with Jean Bosco Iyacu


Two unlikely characters discover their link via the humble sweet potato in this episode. Roy Budjhawan, Head of Impact Financing at ING, a Dutch banking and financial services corporation, talks to Regis Umugiraneza, a young agro-processing entrepreneur based in Rwanda. 

Jean Bosco Iyacu is a former banker and fellow of the Harvard Kennedy School. He is the Director of Programmes at Access to Finance Rwanda (AFR), an organisation which promotes financial inclusion for low-income clients.

Jean Bosco Iyacu at IGNITE 2019 © 2019, SPARK

In this episode, Andile and Jean discuss his career switch from commercial banking to finance for development. Jean Bosco explains that “there are so many people who are unbanked and who cannot use financial services, every single person has a right to financial services”. 

AFR focuses on low-income people that are actively productive but do not have access to the financial system. Jean discusses a new concept, ‘meaningful financial inclusion’, which creates more employment for youth and women in Africa. During the interview, he embraces the challenges and possibilities of small business across Africa for people and discusses the importance of entrepreneurship for creating jobs. 

Hear three more podcasts in this series. To listen to all the episodes in the series, click here to visit the Soundcloud playlist. Better yet, if you’d like to be the first to know when podcasts in this series are published, subscribe to African Tech Roundup on Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Soundcloud or wherever else you get your podcasts.


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