Ethiopia to host Social Enterprise World Forum 2019

18 Sep 2018

A delegation from Ethiopia led by H.E. Jantrar Abay, Minister of Urban Development and Housing, and Ambassador Hailemichael attended this year’s Social Enterprise World Forum in Edinburgh, where it was announced that the Social Enterprise World Forum 2019 will take place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

As the forum drew to a close, the ‘waka’ – a wooden model of a Maori canoe – was handed over from Scotland to Ethiopia, accompanied by an energetic and colourful traditional Ethiopian dance performance by renowned crew, Dan-Kira, which was so infectious that dozens of delegates joined the official delegation – which included ministers from Scotland and Ethiopia – dancing on the stage.

The Ethiopia Forum will be the 12th annual forum and will be the first time it is hosted by a developing country. The aim is to catalyse the area’s young and dynamic social enterprise movement – both within Ethiopia and more widely across Africa. Members of the social enterprise movement from all the other continents will be there too, learning from each other and sharing their experiences.

Ambassador Hailemichael (3rd left) and H.E. Jantrar (center) with the Ethiopian Delegation

Kibret Abebe, chair of Social Enterprise Ethiopia, a social enterprise support body created at the end of 2017, said he was delighted that Addis Ababa had won the bid to host the forum.

With over 100 million inhabitants, Ethiopia already boasts an estimated 55,000 social enterprises, according to British Council research published last year. Some of the most well-known examples include Tebita Ambulance (founded by Abebe) and Whiz Kids Workshop.

The British Council has played a key role in recent years in helping to support the development of social enterprise in Ethiopia and is co-hosting the forum in 2019. Moses Anibaba, the British Council’s regional director for Sub-Saharan Africa, pointed out that in the next 20 years, 50% of the world’s working age population would be in Africa.

“Harnessing this enormous population of entrepreneurs, innovators and talent is critical to spurring the growth of social entrepreneurship globally, as it generates employment, reduces inequalities and addresses entrenched social problems,” he said.

He added that hosting the Social Enterprise World Forum 2019 in Addis Ababa would support this growth.

Gerry Higgins, chief executive of CEIS and founder of the SEWF, said: “The Social Enterprise World Forum is looking forward to having a very rich dialogue with social enterprises from around the world in Ethiopia in 2019. We are excited to have our first forum in a developing country, engaging with inspirational social enterprise leaders in Ethiopia and throughout Africa and collaborating for a sustainable legacy.”

Ethiopia to host the Social Enterprise World Forum 2019

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