Africa Days 2024 | The “I Want A Table” Speech.

In January 2024, the Austrian Chambers of Commerce reached out to me to speak during their annual Africa Days event. I was honoured to talk about the incredible impact the African Diaspora can bring to business cooperation between the two continents.

Opened by the Vice President of the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber, Carmen Goby, urging Austrian businesses to invest in Africa. The African Days 2024 was launched with keynotes from the Ghanaian president, H.E. Nana Akufo-Addo, to excellent ex-footballer Didier Drogba and the fantastic Nwabisa Mayema. After the break, it was refreshing to hear my fellow African diaspora speak about the diverse possibilities already in motion. 

As a social entrepreneur engaged in several projects in Nigeria, I am sensitive about perceiving African communities mainly as a consumer market; hence, in the spirit of production, equity and sustainable partnership, I am excited that Africa Days 2024 provided a platform for broader conversations. 

Who are African Diasporas like myself?

We are a bridge connecting vibrant cultures, ideas, and opportunities. Every individual, every culture, every idea, and every opportunity is unique. We offer this collective uniqueness as a chance to redefine sustainable partnerships. We are ambassadors and connectors who understand the unique strengths of the African and European markets. As a diaspora, I navigate multiple worlds, and it is crucial to break down stereotypes and foster a deep understanding of the vast business potential within Africa. 

What if we can design solutions – products and services that celebrate the diversity and richness of the African Diaspora

Don’t look for partners; build partners!

What if we decide, at this moment, to reopen our minds to see innovation and solutions through the African lens? How would your product look like? How will you redesign your solution? Would the redesign of your solution integrate the needs of the potential partners for market entry from the onset? What would you need to do to build the right partners? I am not saying “find” the right partners; I say build the right partners and partnership! 

What value are you bringing to the table?

Africa is not just a continent; it’s a mosaic of hidden gems meant for the upliftment of the continent. If your offer is needed, the continent is where the impossible can be possible. That’s how enthusiastic the population are to create a great future.

Meet up with several Diasporas and share your ideas, businesses, and intentions, and hear their ideas, businesses and intentions. Visit several African cities and communities several times, seeking what value you can offer. Plan how to empower partners to develop an excellent foundation for your venture. 

Collaboration is the key, and you, my friends, are holding the keys to unlock doors that can lead to mutually beneficial partnerships. Whether it’s technology, agriculture, finance, or creative industries, every successful business is built on relationships, relationships you can start developing right here at home in Europe – because we, the diasporas, are at home here, too. 

From my experience over the past 20 years developing multiple projects between both continents, one key element has been a game-changer for a successful partnership – Cultural Insight and Understanding. There are nuances in doing business anywhere in the world, varying from local customs to business etiquette. Understanding and navigating through them is crucial and the foundation for a better partnership, and here are a few benefits; 

  • Network opportunities open up. 
  • Logistics become easier.
  • Community engagement becomes accessible.
  • Risk is manageable. 
  • Capacity building of partners becomes implementable and much more.

In conclusion, the African Diaspora is not just a community; it’s a force of transformation. We have embraced our role as bridge builders, but now it’s your chance to be a catalyst for change through sustainable business partnerships. We need visionaries who can act beyond the “impossible” with patience, commitment and action. Stay connected and harness those brilliant ideas the world needs!

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Thank you for reading to the end. 



I am Joana, a Nigerian-born Austrian-based entrepreneur and activist. Founded Joadre in 2012 and continue to develop content to engage and empower African SMEs.

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