On Dec 13th, 2022, I received a phone call from the Dean’s office that I would be on the next flight to Washington, DC, the following day to attend one of the most important meetings of my life. Thunderbird School of Global Management under Arizona State University was hosting Kenyan President Ruto and his delegation to discuss Innovating, Scaling, and Accelerating Silicon Savanna in Kenya.
I was excited because this would be my first time in Washington, DC. But most importantly, I was overjoyed to be amid great leaders discussing incredible innovations and partnerships that the African continent presents to the global economy.
I met President Ruto, top leaders from the Kenyan government, and subject matter experts in space, creative industries, climate change, and space leadership, among others. In addition, I heard from leaders like Samba Bathily, the president of African Development Solutions, whose vision is to transform the African Continent into a developed nation with improved infrastructure to improve the livelihoods of people on the continent.
Listening to every initiative that different stakeholders wish to implement in Africa, specifically in Kenya, filled me with great joy, knowing that what was once a colonized state is finding ground to utilize its resources with partnerships brought by the digital economy.
The Kenyan president, William Ruto, is on a mission to bring silicon savannah to Kenya by leveraging digital technologies provided by various institutions. One such institution is Thunderbird’s 100 million Learners initiative, which will provide online global education in innovation and entrepreneurship in 40 languages. President Ruto’s support of this initiative will ensure that more Kenyans and people on the continent get access to quality education, especially women with no language barriers.
As someone passionate about education, I was amazed by how much change the 100 million learners’ initiative will create in people’s lives. I hail from Uganda, a country still stricken by poverty and high illiteracy levels. Therefore, seeing such education initiatives being implemented on the continent, my hope is rejuvenated that all people will have equal access to education because it is a great tool to fight poverty.
Being a part of a global institution like Thunderbird School of Global Management presents numerous opportunities for students like me to network and gain exposure to different ways. When the pandemic hit, many schools closed with no hope of going back. Post-pandemic, some schools failed to open again. Thunderbird is teaching me that with or without a global pandemic, education can continue with digital technologies.
Attending the meeting with African leaders and other stakeholders like Thunderbird, I am hopeful that a great transformation is happening to the African continent. I am excited to witness it unveiled. At Thunderbird, I am meeting people from different parts of the world that are shifting and shaping my mindset around education, digital transformation, cultural diversity, and community building.
As an African student here at Thunderbird, I am privileged to attend networking events like the one hosted in Washington, DC, at the ASU Barrett and O’Connor Washington Center. In addition, I still get to partake in discussions around transforming the continent through Africa Business Club and engage in fruitful conversations with like-minded people. And as the plane took off from Washington, DC, to Phoenix, I had a big smile because of how fulfilled I felt after all the great discussions I had about transforming Kenya and Africa as a continent.