Our journey of ideas, which we started exactly two years ago in Kigali, Rwanda, continues. It’s a remarkable one, made all the more captivating and enriching by the men, women, and organisations that continue to share their ideas as we explore Africa’s prospects in all its permutations.
The first Kusi Ideas Festival looked ahead to how the next 60 years would look like for the continent. We met in a relatively free environment, without the encumbrances of the life-changing Covid-19 pandemic.
However, by the time of the second festival in Kisumu on the shores of Lake Victoria, the virus was already ruling the roost. Hence the theme, “Towards a Post-Covid Africa”.
In hindsight, and as evidenced by the unrelenting spread of the virus, we were overly presumptuous. The virus doesn’t seem to be going away any time soon or at all. This is our new normal – of uncertainties and dread, but also opportunities.
Kusi III sets out to explore those opportunities anchored in the overarching theme of transformation within the constricting framework of the Covid-19 pandemic which, as at December 7, 2021, had killed 152,784 people with a cumulative case load of 6,294,435 across 47 countries, according to the World Health Organisation’s Regional Office for Africa. It could have been worse, as seen in the devastating effect of the pandemic elsewhere in the world.
So, what lessons can we learn from our experience so far and what opportunities can we seize to accelerate Africa’s march into the future?
These are numerous, and the African Continental Free Trade Area, headquartered in Accra, is a ringing affirmation of that. Its key objective, we’re told, is to create a single continental market for goods and services, and to expand intra-African trade. That will be a mighty game-changer.
Over the course of the festival’s two-day programme, we’ll have a wide-ranging conversation – the promise of the African diaspora, infrastructure challenges, the bountiful low-hanging fruits flung our way by new technology and our dazzling innovative energy, the existential threat presented by the gathering dark and ominous clouds of climate change, the ever-present challenge of feeding the continent, and our flourishing story-telling culture that, unfortunately, still struggles to command the high value it richly deserves on the world market.
As with Kusi I and II, the ideas we generate will open new pathways for the future, moonshots to inspire a new development agenda that will keep Africa bubbling with optimism and pride. It’s worth repeating here that at the Nation Media Group, we truly believe in Africa and its future and, with God's help, we shall continue to provide a platform through the Kusi Festival platform for Africa and Africans to have a robust and honest discussion about ourselves and our continent, and where we want to be among the community of nations.
Welcome to Kusi Ideas Festival III.
Wilfred Kiboro is the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Nation Media Group