A vital forum for ideas to boost continental collaboration
A good idea sets the stage for progress in tackling challenges. This is precisely what the annual Kusi Ideas Festival that is focused on Africa’s development in the next 60 years is all about. Gaborone, the capital of Botswana, has just hosted this year’s edition, whose theme was ‘Africa’s Agenda 2063: Making the Dream Come True.’
The fifth edition of the two-day festival reviewed the progress on the African Union’s blueprint for the continent’s economic transformation. President Mokgweetsi Masisi lauded the provision of a platform “to drive the continental agenda through pan-African collaborations, knowledge-sharing and the use of media platforms”.
Kusi, a Nation Media Group initiative, was launched in 2019 in Kigali, Rwanda. The second edition was held in Kisumu in 2020, and the third in Accra in 2021 for this crucial continental brainstorming. The fourth festival in Nairobi focused on climate change and environmental conservation.
Kusi is meant to be an “ideas transaction market” to discuss Africa’s challenges and seek solutions and innovations to secure the continent’s future.
Interestingly, Kusi is the name of the southerly trade wind that blows over the Indian Ocean from April to mid-September, and which enabled trade along the East African coast and between Asia and Africa over millennia. The new challenge blowing across the region and beyond is the need to foster economic growth and attain sustainable development.
This year’s festival has been dominated by calls for one Africa, echoing the need for solidarity. It explored the impact of global warming, zeroing in on its impact on food security, financing and technology. It exhorted the leaders to be innovative, resilient and committed to the continent’s development agenda. Besides the leaders, captains of industry, policy makers, entrepreneurs, and not surprisingly, influencers in the new digital space, graced the event.
The forum is also meant to enlighten African youth to get involved in generating ideas and in leadership in policy and decision making. Digitisation holds the key to the future, with technology easing tasks helping to forge co-operation. The creation of a prosperous Africa, functioning trade area, and promotion of human rights, good governance and democracy are worthy goals.