US President Barack Obama on Saturday said he brought the Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) to Kenya, the first in sub-Saharan Africa, because “Africa is on the move”.
"We wanted to come here. I wanted to come here because Africa is on the move," he said.
He said he was setting an important example with some of technology innovated in Kenya used worldwide.
Speaking about Kenya, Mr Obama referred to M-Pesa, a mobile money transfer system that began in the country but has now spread around the world, and Ushahidi, global non-profit technology company that is helping the exchange of information for partnerships and new ventures.
“It is a great idea that started here. From Zimbabwe to Bangladesh, citizens are looking for where they keep their money safe.
“This continent needs to be a future hub of global growth, not just African growth," he said.
He advised young entrepreneurs not to be discouraged by the initial challenges associated with start-ups.
Speaking at the sixth GES in Nairobi, President Obama said his government was determined to support entrepreneurs on the continent to overcome the challenges of running businesses.
As part of the GES, Mr Obama said he travelled with more than 200 American investors to help boost start-ups on the continent either by providing ideas or raising capital.
Through the GES, the US government hopes to raise capital, support women and connect upcoming entrepreneurs with the world’s leading business people.
Last year, the the GES helped raise $1 billion, which is intended to support programmes for start-ups.
“If you see them, don’t be shy, pin them down, ask them questions because that is what they are here,” he said.
During the opening ceremony, Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta told the audience his country and Africa at large is ready to progress, to change the image that the continent is miserable.
"Africa is the newest and most promising frontier of limitless opportunity. The narrative of African despair and indignity is false and, indeed, was never true.
"Africa's relationship with the rest of the world must be premised on mutual benefit," he said.
To Mr Obama, Mr Kenyatta said: "Tell the world what you've seen in Kenya. Let them know that Africa is open and ready for business."