NESG and Partners Host Fireside Chat with Rockefeller Foundation President Dr. Rajiv Shah

Posted Mon, Jun 17, 2024 7:49 PM

NESG and Partners Host Fireside Chat with Rockefeller Foundation President Dr. Rajiv Shah

On June 16, 2024, the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG), in collaboration with Harvard Business School, the Rockefeller Foundation, and Lagos Business School, hosted a fireside chat featuring Dr. Rajiv Shah, President of the Rockefeller Foundation. The event, held as part of the book signing for "Big Bets: How Large-Scale Change Really Happens," provided a platform for insightful discussions on tackling global challenges.

Opening Remarks by Dr. Tayo Aduloju

Dr. Tayo Aduloju, CEO of NESG, opened the event by emphasizing the significance of Dr. Shah's book. He described it as a bold response to the formidable problems of our generation, offering strategic solutions that promise long-term gains rather than short-term wins. Dr. Aduloju highlighted the importance of the book for Nigeria, a country in the midst of a demographic transition with a predominantly young population. He called it a gift to the younger generation, urging them to strive for seemingly impossible achievements and exceed global expectations.

Welcome Remarks by Ms. Florence Okoli

Ms. Florence Okoli, Vice President of the Harvard Business School Association of Nigeria (HBSAN), welcomed attendees and underscored HBSAN's commitment to nation-building. She noted that the event marked the beginning of future collaborations among the four organizing institutions, all united by the mission of making a significant impact.

Insights from Dr. Rajiv Shah

Dr. Rajiv Shah shared his motivations for writing "Big Bets," reflecting on global events and the need for bold, innovative solutions. He recounted how Bill and Melinda Gates made a transformative bet on vaccination, as well as his own experiences fighting Ebola during his tenure at USAID. Dr. Shah praised the efforts of women who played crucial roles on the frontlines during the Ebola crisis.

He also discussed the Rockefeller Foundation's initiatives to improve energy access, particularly through renewable energy, aiming to reach over a billion people worldwide without reliable electricity. Dr. Shah highlighted Nigeria's potential to transition from reliance on generators to cleaner, more affordable energy sources, benefiting millions of people.

Key Discussions and Future Prospects

During the fireside chat, moderated by the President and CEO of The One Campaign and Trustee of Rockefeller Foundation, Mrs. Ndidi Nwuneli, Dr. Shah addressed the pressing issue of Nigeria's labor market, where 3.5 million people enter the workforce annually amid economic challenges. He emphasized the need for accelerated renewable energy adoption to support businesses and households.

In the Q&A session, Dr. Shah advocated for investment in sustainable power solutions, including nuclear energy, fusion, and other renewable sources. He stressed that such investments are crucial for developing countries to compete in the global economy and provide viable alternatives for energy access.

The event concluded with a call to action for collaborative efforts in addressing global challenges and harnessing innovative solutions for sustainable development.


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