2024 Gala in Support of the Ivory Center Due in

Annual Lectures Series & Gala Night – September 16, 2023

The Ivory Club of Tampa Bay will hold its Annual Lecture Series and Gala night to September 16, 2023.

Please join us as we celebrate the 17th anniversary of our signature charity event. 

Venue – USF Royal Palm Ballroom, 4103 USF Cedar Cir, Tampa 

Time6pm (Silent Auction), 7pm (Dinner, Lecture, and entertainment)

Theme: “A Corporate Paradigm for an African Renaissance.

Keynote Speaker – Mr. Eric Chinje, Senior Advisor at KRL International and former World Bank’s External Relations Manager for Africa

The Ivory Club of Tampa Bay, a non-profit organization, has been a mainstay in the Tampa Bay area for more than 20 years. An “Evening in Africa” is a charity event that serves as a key fundraising vehicle the Ivory Club of Tampa Bay relies on to support its key programs such as:

  • ⇒  University of South Florida (USF) Endowed Scholarship. Since 1999, the Ivory Club has awarded need and merit based scholarships annually to deserving students.
  • ⇒  International Student Exchange Program where recipient USF Students are sent to an African university for a semester
  • ⇒  Disaster relief and social assistance – Donations to Haiti earthquake and West African Ebola relief efforts, Tampa Bay Boys & Girls Club, and more

This year’s fundraiser will be focused on funding the “Ivory Center“, our proposed African Cultural Center.

We invite you to come and experience the night with us. 

 Lecture Excerpt: “A Corporate Paradigm for an African Renaissance.”

Africa came into the 21st century with great promise and expectations of an economic, political and cultural renewal that would finally allow the continent to forcefully assert itself on the global stage.  In the two decades since, the story has turned to one of rising political instability, declining economic outcomes and failed attempts at regional solutions for regional problems.  The hopes of a much taunted African renaissance have all but dissipated and old doubts and interrogations are back at the fore: whither Africa? 

I believe we will have to adopt a corporate approach to lifting up the continent.  I am going to be an artist of the mind.  I will try to paint two Africas and invite us to discuss each one and what it will take to get to the ultimate choice we make.

First, there is Africa as we know it:

According to WorldAtlas, Africa has the richest concentration of natural resources of any continent, with 30% of the world’s entire mineral reserves, immense potential for hydroelectric power, solar and geothermal energy, and about 65 percent of the most fertile lands for agriculture.  The continent has nearly half of the world’s gold, 90 percent of its chromium and platinum, and the largest reserves of cobalt, diamonds, platinum and uranium.

Th Africa we know – and the data shows – has the youngest and fastest growing population, with projections of surpassing India and China within this century, and is the fastest urbanizing region on the planet.  In spite of this and the immense resources of its sub-soil, the region remains the poorest and least developed in he world.  Some important questions arise and major conversations must be had within the continent as we search for meaningful responses to its persistent challenges.

Then there is the Africa we can allow ourselves to imagine:

The McKinsey Global Institute provides a basis for this in its June 2023 report: “accelerating digitization, developing the continent’s talent, collaborating ore regionally, investing in urban infrastructure, and growing more business champions are some of the ways Africa can increase productivity to support strong and sustainable growth.” Simple and practical, but there is a catch. Africans would have to imagine the future that statement defines,, and then figure out how to get there! And therein lies the wry. 

 How do we overcome what I have been told is our collective Aphantasia?  I’ll explain this.  What concrete proposals are on offer for moving the continent forward?  We will identify and discuss this.

About the Keynote Speaker

Eric Chinje is a Senior Advisor at KRL International, a global consultancy specializing in the emerging markets. Prior to joining KRL International, he was the Director for Strategic Communications at the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, a position he took up at the start of 2012. Prior to that he led the Global Media Program at the World Bank Institute (WBI) and, in that capacity, launched the IMAGE (Independent Media for Accountability, Governance and Empowerment) capacity building program to create a corps of development journalists in the Bank’s client countries.

Mr. Chinje also served as the World Bank’s External Relations Manager for Africa and at the African Development Bank (ADB) in Tunis, where he was head of the institution’s External Affairs and Communications Unit. He is currently on the Board of the African Media Initiative (AMI) and is a Co-Founder of the African Media Leaders Forum (AMLF). Mr. Chinje is also the Vice President of the African Advisory Board of the National Museum of African Art of the Smithsonian Institute in Washington DC.

Fluent in English and French, Mr. Chinje studied in the universities of Yaoundé (Cameroon), Syracuse (New York) and Harvard (Cambridge, Massachusetts). He was Editor in Chief of Cameroon Television and a contributing correspondent for CNN World Report, and a stringer for the BBC World Service, Voice of America, and Deutschewelle Radio. Mr. Chinje is an Officer of the Cameroon Order of Merit and an Officer of the Dutch Order of Orange Nassau.

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