There was a shift in focus from providing aid to investing in Africa at the African Diaspora Investment Symposium (ADIS) in January. Attendees commented that the process of implementing effective development programs in Africa starts with recognizing that it does not need handouts.

In the discussion, panel members identified two major areas that have high potential for both social and financial return: girls’ education and technology.

Why girls education?

As speakers on the panel noted, investing in education for girls equips them with the knowledge and skills they need to meet opportunities throughout their lives.  Providing girls with access to education has been proven to lead to reductions in infant/maternal mortality as well as increases in financial returns for the woman, her family, and her community. Studies have shown that entire economies are successful when women and girls are educated and economically empowered.

Why technology?

Needless to say, technology can enable significant growth by providing innovative solutions among sectors such as agriculture, financial inclusion, and health. Throughout the conference, speakers referred to technology’s transformative influence on development around the world, but specifically in Africa.

Read the full article about investing in Africa by Kelly Diggins at Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors.