March 17, 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.

In keeping with the theme of the conference – jobs now! – each episode deep-dives into the opportunities for creating more and better jobs for youth in the Middle East, North and sub-Saharan Africa.

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 the first three episodes now.


1. Shift The Power:

Challenging Development Cooperation Power Dynamics between the Global North and South

Tijmen Rooseboom, the 35-year-old recently appointed Dutch Ambassador for Youth, Education and Work, is recorded live during an on-stage panel discussion at IGNITE 2019. His mandate is to ensure that The Netherlands is optimising the use of public funds earmarked for advancing youth education and employment. 

He is joined on stage by Evelijne Bruning, self-proclaimed “dragon and driver of change”, whose high-profile #ShiftThePower activism efforts within Dutch non-profit circles often puts her at odds with policymakers and fellow practitioners. 

Left to right Tijmen Rooseboom, Evelijne Bruning, Andile Masuku and Samar Dani during IGNITE 2019 Shift the Power session © 2019, SPARK
Timen Rooseboom, Samar Dani and Evelijne Bruning

The two of them, led by host Andile Masuku, are joined by Samar Dani, who prior to leading one of Lebanon’s most well-respected youth NGOs, led a storied career in her country’s consumer and retail industry.

In front of an international audience of experts, entrepreneurs and researchers, they share their very own thoughts and experiences on how to shift the power, moving from a global Northern method of development to a model that empowers local organisations for themselves to actually become the agents of change.


2. Unpacking Arab Identity & Socio-economic Dynamics with Salam Said

Dr. Salam Said, with a Bachelor in Economics from University of Damascus and a Ph.D. in Economics and Social Sciences from the University of Bremen in Germany, is a leading voice on Arab economies. 

Salam Said during a workshop at IGNITE 2019 © 2019, SPARK
Salam Said

Since 2009, she has been researching and lecturing on Arab trade policies and the political economy of Syria. During the episode, Said criticises the international community’s oversimplification and homogenisation of the Arab world. “Everyone is talking about the Arab countries as one region…Not all these countries have oil.”

Said shares her recommendations for sustainable job creation in the Middle East, including the need to address the region’s economic history: “the structural economic problems rooted in the 70s or 90s…these are the problems to be solved first.”

3. South Sudan:

Micro-Finance Diaries with Yengi Lokule of Rural Finance Initiative

With over 20 years experience in building up the microfinance and banking sectors for refugees in Uganda and in the world’s youngest country, South Sudan, Yengi Lokule is dedicated to creating a better economic environment for new businesses to flourish. 

Now CEO of Rural Finance Initiative, a cross-border microfinance institute operating in South Sudan and Uganda, Lokule knows the struggles of entrepreneurs in sub-Saharan Africa – he used to be one.

Woman at a South Sudanese farmers market © 2019, SPARK
Yengi Lokule

Lokule offers host, Andile Masuku, first-hand insights and pragmatic recommendations for how goods and services can be adapted to support displaced people and addresses the huge challenges to create jobs in post-conflict environments and how promoting financial inclusion is oversimplified. “Trying to help the common South-Sudanese is trying to build resilience.”


Four more episodes will be released soon. Click here to find 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.

Related news