The fifth edition of the Kusi Ideas Festival under the theme “Africa’s Agenda 2063: Making the dream come true” was held in Gaborone, Botswana this week, with a rallying call to African leaders to promote innovations, resilience and commitments towards the achievement of continent’s strategic development plan, Agenda 2063.
Botswana President Mokgweetsi Masisi equated the festival with a stock exchange, where people meet to exchange ideas that are not only tradeable but can be turned into policies.
“We are fully persuaded that this event has a unique offering of a transformative and intentional conversations by thought leaders from across the continent to interrogate the various aspects and facets of our collective vision,” he said.
The deliberations at the festival, President Masisi said, would bring out some pointers of strategic direction to be considered by governments, civil society organisations, investors and partner institutions towards fulfilling “the Africa we want.”
Crucial to the attainment of the desired goals will be a united Africa, moving with a unified purpose and progressively synergising its efforts of integration in conducting trade.
Nation Media Group’s Board Chairman Wilfred Kiboro challenged Africans to stop thinking that they do not have what it takes to create a prosperous continent.
“One of the things I would love us to discuss in this conference is how we can decolonise the African mindset to believe in ourselves and in the possibility that we do have the answers to African problems,” he said.
The festival has brought together heads of state, captains of industry, policymakers, entrepreneurs, influencers in the new digital space, and students from across the continent. The two-day conference will see the delegates, both attending virtually and physically generate several ideas offering solutions and innovations to tackle challenges facing Africa.
Issues to be discussed in this year’s festival include the creation of a prosperous Africa, a functioning free trade area, respect of law and human rights to promote good governance and democracy as well as a peaceful Africa supported by the AU’s mission to silence the guns in troubled regions.
He wondered why many people in Europe, some parts of Asia and the Americas still thought of Africa as a country, not knowing it has several nations, a clear indicator that Africa has not marketed itself as it should in the global space.
Dr Kiboro said it was time for Africa to take responsibility for its development and stop looking back to the dark times of colonialism where many atrocities were meted out to Africans by the powers that ruled them.
“I believe we cannot continue to blame our colonial masters for the ills that face Africa. I believe we have the capacity to confront all the challenges that we face head on and deal with them. One of the biggest things I would love us to discuss in this conference is how we can decolonise the African mindset to believe in ourselves and in the possibility that we do have the answers to African problems,” he said.