Report Chad Innovation Summit
Category : International
Trip report June 16th to June 23rd to N’Djamena.
The country of Chad traditionally has to combat large issues caused by its location and difficult past. With 76% of it’s population living in rural areas and a distinct lack of infrastructure, mainly paved roads, the country finds itself in a dangerously dire economical situation. International rankings have the country sitting uncomfortably in one of the last ranks.Despite the dire straits the country is in, the government is actively pursuing innovation and trying to find solutions for the many issues.Chad’s Innovation Summit is seen as a first step towards a better future for the country.The readiness of the government and the population to make the first steps towards development through innovation and optimization prompted us to attend the summit.With the major companies and a large amount of small and medium sized enterprises attending, this decision proved to be a good one.
We landed in N’Djamena on June 16 with rather specific expectations. We expected a great attendance, openness to innovation, good networking opportunities, an underdeveloped economic situation and related issues and questions and finally the possibility to meet decision makers on the political levels. We did not anticipate the sheer amount of opportunity though.
The Chad Innovation Summit took place from June 18th to June 20th in N’Djamena, Chad.The event was split into three parts, each taking place on a different day. These parts were 1. the opening ceremony + networking events 2. panels on technologies + theoretical business discussions and lastly 3. CEO meetings + Introduction of specific technologies.
The days prior to the summit were filled with meetings of social and economic decision makers. The main focus during this time laid on getting a feel for how the country works, from a societal and economical perspective. Meetings with decision makers and management personnel from various different construction and social organizations helped tremendously in understanding cultural ways of not only business, but life itself. Over dinner on the floor, we were able to discuss economical and infrastructural issues with the countries most famous social worker, Mr. Hamid as well as his son, a renown business man in Chad, Sudan and Egypt. This provided insight in the decision making process and the main focus of attention in central Africa. We were offered connections to the ministry of traffic, which we accepted. Alongside meetings with large sized companies, we had the pleasure to discuss the matter of liquid soil with Mr. Alberto, the 2018 Forbes social entrepreneur of the year, who informally invited us to similar events in Mexico and the United States.
The summit itself consisted of networking and discussions about liquid soil and it’s advantages. One of the main contacts we were able to acquire was Mr. Messaoud, the CCO of Tigo Millicom, alongside management staff of a huge variety of companies. We were able to answer requests of information material from folks associated with the governments of Sudan, Cameroon and Egypt.
Yajano’s presentation took place on the last day of the summit. The audience consisted of CEOs of various fields, such as finance, construction, architecture, environment and logistics. The presentation was a huge success, with the majority of companies willing to discuss further steps and possible collaborations. City planning and architect offices were most interested and invited us for the following week. Unfortunately we were unable to attend these meetings due to our time limited stay in N’Djamena. A second presentation was offered and completed, this time for university officials and post graduate students. Here, we were able to gain first contacts to universities. After this the summit proceeded into it’s final stage, the closing ceremony. To our surprise, we were included in the organizing teams final statements and the technology of Liquid Soil was once more introduced.The last days were spend with further networking and investigations on the infrastructural and economic situation.
Overall, the trip to attend the Chad Innovation Summit was a complete success.Our expectations were exceeded by a huge margin.The amount of contacts we were able to gather, alongside the amount of interest we were able to generate are simply unbelievable. Companies with the power to change the entire landscape of a countries infrastructure and economy were highly interested and requested information material and further communication. Governments, not only of Chad but also of Cameroon, Sudan and Egypt requested information. Celebrities praising the company and Liquid Soil. Television statements we were able to give and the overall excitement of the folks we were able to meet were just the tip of the iceberg.
All this makes follow up not only important, but inevitable. Yajano will keep communication at an all-time high and actively work towards collaborations in central Africa.
Tim Haase & Jan Beselin