African Influencers For Development 



“A man or woman cannot sit down alone to plan for prosperity.”

Nigerian Proverb

The African Influencers for Development (AI4Dev) harnesses Africa’s creative, intellectual and entrepreneurial energy for Africa’s development through a powerful coalition of current and future African influencers in business, academia and the arts. Together RBA and its partners have come together on the platform of AI4Dev to co-create and co-implement innovative solutions which can accelerate Africa’s transformation and support the SDG agenda. AI4Dev provides business leaders with a platform for collaborative learning, coordinated strategy and execution, and mutual accountability.

It is also a commitment by RBA to work with African private sector and other partners to create and support future African champions from within Africa’s young and dynamic population.

On the 22nd of September 2019, on the margins of the 74th UN General Assembly at the UN Headquarters, the UNDP Regional Bureau for Africa (RBA)  and Africa’s private sector and academia launched a bold new platform to bring Africans together in partnerships to help drive the continent’s development.

A UNDP first, this is a blueprint for private sector engagement in development action through a coalition with UNDP. With offices in 45 countries and over 4000 staff, UNDP Regional Bureau for Africa is the UNDP’s largest bureau in the UN agency mandated to support countries in implementing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

UNDP is transforming into the ‘next generation UNDP” with a greater focus on working closely with partners to discover, create and implement innovative solutions to the most complex development challenges facing Africa. UNDP launched AI4Dev to recalibrate old relationships and build new ones with the firm belief that Africa’s power and prosperity is in partnerships. 

AI4Dev forms part of the RBA’s Renewed Strategic Offer, a key building block to implement the UNDP Strategic Plan 2018 – 2021 in Africa, and a tool in support to the achievement of the SDGs and the African Union’s Agenda 2063: The Africa We Want. 

The 3 Ps

The partnership platform is built on a foundation of three core pillars known as ‘The 3 Ps’: People, Products and Platforms:

People: Africa’s most powerful tool for change is people. AI4Dev galvanises RBA’s staff both at country level and at the HQ to create and develop more effective partnerships beyond the traditional. Externally the initiative has created the AI4Dev Supergroup comprising of current and future African leaders in business, academia and the arts who are collaborating with UNDP on a wide range of development areas such as encouraging infrastructure development and financing, supporting government development agendas, mobilising resources, fostering regional integration (the AfCFTA)  and the connectivity of Africa, and exchanging knowledge and skills. 

Products: AI4Dev creates a space for UNDP and its partners to jointly create and support products, programmes, campaigns and services that have a rapid transformational effect on Africa’s development curve. The initiative’s first product is The Africa Business Map. This first-of-its-kind online data map showcases some of the most innovative and development minded business ventures in Africa from a wide range of sectors including digital technology, extractive industries, finance and clean energy. The initiative is also producing several video series such as the Hekima Series and the African Genius series. Many more products are in pre-production and will be released in 2020-2021.

Platforms: Platforms are a vital component of the success of this initiative where RBA’s ideas and messages around strategic focus areas such as inclusion, equality and gender, good governance and Covid-19 recovery and resilience can be amplified. AI4Dev creates new platforms such as  The Renewable Energy Forum, a partnership with Nigeria’s Sahara Energy Group. It also harnesses existing ones such as UN events and business conferences through partnerships and collaborations. 


In Pictures: AI4Dev launch
  • AI4Dev is a very innovative initiative, and as the African Union, we are here to support you and it will open up a lot of opportunities for collaboration across many areas.


    H.E. Ambassador Albert Muchanga,
    Commissioner for Trade and Industry, African Union Commission


  • This initiative proves that Africa’s rapidly evolving development challenges can be met by upscaling Africa’s own innovative solutions. I agree with the view that Africa should no longer be treated as a space for testing ideas, many of which eventually fail, but as a goldmine where development takes place


    Ms. Amina Mohammed,
    Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations 

  • We have issues with leadership, we have issues with access to finance, but I am a huge believer… that the majority of the people will do the right thing if they are given the opportunity to see what it is. I think this effort of perception changing, creating new heroes, creating new narratives for ourselves, could bring multiple benefits.


    Dr. Amy Jadesimi CEO,
    LADOL. AI4Dev Supergroup member

  • Hope exists, light exists… we have to put light back into our continent. That takes partnerships and collaboration. Connections have to be made to ensure that we are collectively working together towards one direction.”


    Ms. Bintou Keita,
    Assistant Secretary-General for Africa 

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