Let me first acknowledge the presence of the following esteemed guests here with us tonight.

  1. Dr Akinwumi Adesina, President, African Development Bank
  2. Jeanette Kagame, First Lady of Rwanda
  3. Dr Motsepe-Ramaphosa, spouse to Mr Cyril Ramaphosa, Deputy President of South Africa
  4. Adrian Monck, Head of Public Engagement and Foundations at World Economic Forum.
  5. Babatunde Osotimehin, Executive Director, United Nations Populations Fund (UNFPA)
  6. Moustapha Ben Barka, Deputy Secretary, Office of the President of the Republic of Mali
  7. Yonov Fredirick Agah, Deputy Director General, World Trade Organisation (WTO), Geneva
  8. Mukisa Kituyi, Secretary-General, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), Geneva

Finally, our honoured guests, we are proud to welcome our 2016 Social Entrepreneurs Awardees.

We are delighted to have all of you here to participate and share in the SEOY 2016 AWARDS hosted in this beautiful country of a thousand hills.

I want to thank and acknowledge my partner in this project, Mrs Hilde Schwab. When Professor Klaus and Mrs. Hilde Schwab invited the Motsepe Foundation to participate on this program last year, my husband Patrice Motsepe and I felt that this was something that was in line with the objectives of our family’s Foundation on the continent.

The Schwab Foundation is a highly esteemed organization which has, for a number of years, excelled in promoting Social Entrepreneurship globally under the watchful eye of Mrs Hilde Schwab. It’s growing footprint of 320 social entrepreneurs is unparalleled.

Private Event:  SE GALA DINNER   at the World Economic Forum on Africa 2016 in Kigali, Rwanda. Copyright by World Economic Forum / Benedikt von Loebell

Our family foundation has its roots in the various communities that we support. Our goal is self-sufficiency and an improvement in the living standards and the quality of life of our people. We believe in the notion that if you give a man a fish you feed him for one day, but if you teach a man to fish, you feed him and his family for a lifetime.

Our programs thus emphasize development in education, especially in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics) fields, and job creation by supporting Women-owned and Youth-owned businesses.

We hope that with the current, rapidly evolving 4th industrial revolution, we can contribute towards a pipeline of women and men who will work on finding solutions to our health systems, and find ways to overcome the challenges in pandemic outbreaks, as well as fill in the gaps in human resource requirements needed in infrastructure, engineering, and medical services.

We hope to contribute to the growth of entrepreneurs who will build successful businesses whilst contributing meaningfully to the social and economic development of the poor, and the continent at large.

I am particularly proud of the Schwab social entrepreneurs network. Many of you are championing ground breaking innovations that are changing people’s lives and impacting our environment positively, through services that improve efficiencies and change the old way of doing things.

Last year, I was challenged by a journalist after the announcements of the SEOY winners in Cape Town. We had great entrepreneurs who were doing phenomenal work all over the world. Despite this, the journalist complained that we had little presence of social entrepreneurs from the continent.

After a thorough search for high impact social entrepreneurs on the continent and a very strict judging process, I am pleased to say that of the 11 winners, 8 are women and 4 are from Africa (South Africa and Morocco). They all do very important work and change people’s lives. I am truly excited and I congratulate all the winners. Your work speaks for itself and will help to inspire many more social entrepreneurs. The continent and the world need more people like you.

The Motsepe Foundation is also a co-sponsor of the Harvard Kennedy School executive program on Social Entrepreneurship, which I hope our network will take up so that we can really promote social entrepreneurs on the continent.

It is now my pleasure to introduce the First Lady of this beautiful country Mrs Jeannette Kagame, to give us some remarks.

Mrs Kagame, your country and your people (my people to be exact) really inspire me. In my humble opinion, Rwanda is a role model country on the continent, with its infectious can-do mentality and the resilience of its people. I am also very inspired by your work in promoting women and girls’ empowerment in Rwanda.

Most of our donations have been private but the need and challenges are great and we hope that our Giving Pledge will encourage others in South Africa, Africa and other emerging economies to give and MAKE THE WORLD A BETTER PLACE.