Why you should be part of the next Africa Experience
I am Maritim Isaac, an alumni of Lapid Leaders Cohort 4 alumni and the current President of the Lapid Leaders Council. I was part of the team that went to Rwanda for Africa Experience.
There are several benefits that I reaped from the Experience but top on my list would have to be the opportunity I got to expand my network and establish a business relationship with one of the entrepreneurs there. I recognised a business need that I could help the entrepreneur with and established a relationship with them.
One of my favorite moments was a meeting that we had with Pr. Hassan Kibirango on Leadership Reflection. His personal story was purely inspirational. I took this bit with me: the earlier you apply yourself to certain principles, values and attributes in life the better your chances, He is big on discipline, growing relationships and valuing our greatest resource, TIME.
As a result of the Experience, my perception of Africa changed. In Rwanda, I saw systems and structures that work, the fruits of transparency and accountability in governance. I have no doubt the same can be replicated even in Kenya. All it takes is good will in our political class, a bit of forward thinking and a strong inclination to serve others.
In addition, I appreciated being Kenyan a lot more despite our faults. IT literacy in Rwanda is at 25% while in Kenya, it’s more than 75%. We are several steps ahead but the irony is we never really appreciate and leverage this until we get out there. With this in mind, for every solution I will be part of coming up with, I will not just be looking at the Kenya but also the wider African market and beyond.
I would advice future cohorts that take part in the Experience to try venturing constructively outside the itinerary that will be provided. My theory is people like interacting with foreigners because of the prospect of learning something new, making a new connection or hearing of an opportunity. It’s one of those inexplicable things ingrained in us. For example, a visiting student from say Egypt can easily land a meeting with James Mworia compared to you who is in Kenya.
In my case, using the contacts of one of the LLA mentors, I lined up a personal meeting with Innocent Muhizi, Regional CIO AB Bank, Rwanda, Zambia & Liberia (I had to include titles… ). I picked up a lot from our conversation around business, tech, life as a 20 something year old and how our choices matter every step of the way. Most importantly now he is one of my acquaintances. My Point is leverage your foreign status constructively.
I would advocate for every young person to take part in this Experience for the thrill of not knowing who you will meet, what you may pick up in a foreign country and the fact that you will experience Africa outside Kenya, far from textbook description, second person description and what the media says. It is a chance to learn new things, grab opportunities, a time to explore culture, reflect, form new connections etc etc
#PS. Go to Inema Art Centre if you ever in +256. Killer art pieces man! Try ivuka if you fancy pieces done by ‘art underdogs’