Sterling One Foundation’s Africa Social Impact Summit Sets Agenda On Sustainable Development


Key stakeholders from the public sector, diplomatic community, civil society, and the Nigerian private sector converged in Lagos for a two-day summit aimed at reshaping the approach to sustainable development in Africa. The event, known as the Africa Social Impact Summit (ASIS), marked its second edition and was co-convened by the Sterling One Foundation and the United Nations.

Under the theme “Global Vision, Local Action: Repositioning the African Development Ecosystem for Sustainable Outcomes,” ASIS 2023 served as a platform to forge partnerships and mobilize investments aimed at accelerating progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Africa. With the SDGs reaching their midpoint, there has been a worldwide call for a comprehensive review of progress and the identification of areas requiring additional measures to ensure success.

With global and local participation at ASIS 2023 and speakers across the globe including former President of Malawi, Joyce Banda, Consul Generals from the British High Commission, United States of America, German, and Danish Consulates, and Permanent Secretaries from several Nigerian Ministries, including Women Affairs, Education, Water Resources, Environment, Budget, and National Planning, as well as non-profit leaders, business executives, and experts representing crucial sectors such as education, health, climate action, and agriculture, all shared insights into their sustainability strategies, achievements to date, and future plans.

Mrs. Olapeju Ibekwe, CEO of the Sterling One Foundation, opened the summit with optimism, expressing hope that ASIS 2023 would foster new partnerships and innovative solutions. She emphasized the need for existing social impact initiatives in rural communities to access additional resources, allowing them to expand their reach across the continent.

In her address, Ibekwe underscored the importance of the private sector’s commitment to the SDGs and thanked the United Nations for their collaboration in co-convening the summit. She passionately stated, “Across the continent, the people are waiting for action. For far too long, Africa has been tagged as the ‘Emerging Continent,’ with discussions revolving around its untapped potential. However, poverty, hunger, climate crises, and inequality persist. Africa is yearning for action. I remain confident that there is the capacity for the type of action we seek in this room. There is the capacity to build strong partnerships for sustainable solutions, swiftly moving from plans to action. I urge everyone to interact and collaborate because the stakes are very high.”

Mr. Abubakar Suleiman, Managing Director and CEO of Sterling Bank Limited and a Board Member of the Sterling One Foundation, delivered welcoming remarks, emphasizing the summit’s core mission. He articulated, “The essence of this Summit is to ensure that at every level, the issues and challenges contributing to widespread poverty in Africa are addressed comprehensively, and that everyone is aligned in the right direction.”

The Africa Social Impact Summit served as a vital platform for stakeholders to engage in transformative dialogues and seek innovative solutions for Africa’s sustainable development challenges. As the world continues its journey towards the 2030 SDG targets, the commitments and collaborations forged at ASIS 2023 hold the potential to drive positive change across the continent.

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