President Uhuru Kenyatta to open the Kusi Ideas Festival 2020

The 2020 conference will mostly focus on what has worked, explore the tremendous African resilience that has been on display, and look ahead at how to emerge from the crisis.

Also on the list of speakers is Dr Mukhisa Kituyi, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development Secretary-General, Dr Wilfred Kiboro, the Nation Media Group Chairman and Kisumu County Governor Prof Anyang’ Nyong’o.

At least 250 delegates are expected to attend the forum happening at Ciala Resort in person, while close to 1,000 have registered to attend the event virtually, following restrictions on public gatherings in view of the Covid-19 situation.

The Kusi 2020 edition follows the inaugural event held in Rwanda in 2019. The event is organised by the Nation Media Group (NMG) in partnership with Kisumu County.

While delivering the opening remarks, Kisumu County Executive in charge for tourism, culture and sports, Ms Achie Alai, termed the gathering as timely, coming at a time when the region has exhibited great resilience and demonstrated capacity to provide African solutions to the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We have not waited for Western think tanks to tell us what to do in the wake of the pandemic but we have sought African solutions,” she stated.


Among topics to be discussed on day one of the forum is how Africa’s resilience and smarts were revealed by the pandemic, with focus on how the continent proved doomsayers wrong, with a positive outcome of strengthened health systems in the region.

Other topics are securing growth, adaptability, innovation and entrepreneurship, with focus on the shape of the post-Covid-19 African economy.

The health Chief Administrative Secretary, Dr Rashid Abdi Aman, said Kenya has relied on science to make its decisions.

“The decisions and measures put in place have been evidence-based driven by science. There were times when one had to ponder about the difficult decisions between saving lives and livelihoods,” Dr Aman said.

He also said Kenya built upon partnerships with actors like the World Health Organization (WHO), philanthropists and the private sector.

The government also developed a good communication strategy that ensured timely and good quality communication, he noted.

“Level of openness and transparency played a key role in where we are today. We also had to adapt and adapt quickly. We were able to repurpose our resources for the response,” he said.

The CAS said Kenya also repurposed its laboratories to help fight the virus and is on course to test 1 million people.

“On innovation, we started to manufacture PPEs locally,” adding that this helped give the Kenyan economy some breathing space.

Other speakers are Dr Sabin Nsanzimana from, the Director General Rwanda Biomedical Centre in Rwanda, Dr Khama Rogo (Founder, Centre for Study of Adolescence), Dr Shivon Byamukama (Rwanda) Managing Director of Babyl among others.

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