Building Bridges took the lead on bringing together for 3 days in Kenya a delegation from private sector leaders from Europe and East Africa to strengthen bridges for sustainable investment. The first Bridging Africa – Europe SDG Investment Summit took place in Nairobi, from June 3 to 5, 2024. 

Central to the mission of Building Bridges is the creation of a multi-stakeholder platform, dedicated to channeling capital where it can achieve maximum, sustainable impact. “Only by creating the right conditions to facilitate capital flow can we aim to build an economic system aligned with social and environmental sustainability goals,” said Patrick Odier, Chair of the Building Bridges Foundation. “This initiative embodies our collective will to drive meaningful change.”

The 2024 “Bridging Africa – Europe SDG Investment Summit” in Nairobi builds on a mission to Kenya in April 2023, during which the Building Bridges team engaged with diverse stakeholders, including government officials, development partners, and the private sector.

This inaugural Summit was a collaboration between Building Bridges, the Embassy of Switzerland in Kenya, and the United Nations in Kenya through its SDG Partnership Platform, with support from the Nairobi International Financial Centre and Equity Bank Group. It aimed at forging links and cultivating trust to enable financing and investment pathways among diverse communities, deepening European investors’ and African stakeholders’ understanding of the region’s and the continent’s sustainable investment landscape. And it was a success!

Through site visits, startup pitches, networking sessions and active discussions with financial institutions, government ministries, leading change-makers, high-caliber entrepreneurs and innovators, this pivotal initiative established a strong basis for future collaboration and partnerships. The trip provided the European delegation with an in-depth view of Kenya and East Africa’s advanced sustainability ecosystem, and its promising investment opportunities. Simultaneously, Kenyan local private and public sector representatives, along with tech innovators, showcased their ambitious growth strategies aimed at attracting and sustaining both local and foreign investments in East Africa, a region home to 497 million and to one of the continent’s fastest-growing demographics.   

The conversations initiated through this landmark event in Nairobi are a first step into building a proper Africa-Europe bridge and will continue as part of the 5th edition of Building Bridges in Geneva, December 9-12, 2024. Beyond our end of the year flagship event, we will continue building this intercontinental bridge. Stay tuned if you want to join us on this journey or feel free to reach out.

Karen Hitschke, CEO of the Building Bridges Foundation, concludes this 3-day event: “Our objective was to build a strong bridge between our two continents and bring traffic on it. And we succeeded, through a collaborative approach, by connecting and engaging with key local actors, strengthening links and fostering trust among a wide array of communities.”