Africa’s future on the agenda as Kusi Ideas Festival begins

Monday December 9 2019


By Allan Olingo @TheCitizenTZ

Kigali. This year’s Kusi Ideas Festival officially kicked off  yesterday at the Intare Conference Arena in Kigali, Rwanda, in what promises to be illuminating discussions about the future of the African continent.
The Festival - jointly organised by the  Nation Media Group (NMG) and the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) - brings together various stakeholders and leaders led by Rwandan President Paul Kagame, Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo) President Felix Tshisekedi,  African Union Infrastructure Envoy Raila Odinga, and the former Africa Development Bank President, Dr Donald Kaberuka, among other dignitaries.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, NMG board chairman Wilfred Kiboro said the festival was brought to Rwanda “because the country is the perfect place to launch such an important festival, as it represents the possibilities that societies everywhere in Africa - particularly those with less painful history  - can achieve.
“We are celebrating 60 years as Nation Media - and, with this in mind, we thought it would be good for the continent to have a conversation about its future. That’s why we are here today,” Dr Kiboro said.
“We thought of bringing together Africans to talk on what they’d like the continent to be for the youth. This Kusi Ideas meet is for the young people to talk about what they’d like to see in the next 60 years in terms of infrastructure, politics, education, health, agriculture and technology.”
NMG launched the festival as part of its ‘Social Change Agenda,’ and to begin ‘building a pan-African ideas transaction market’ to capitalise on the opportunities and innovations available in this century.  Kusi Ideas will provide a strategic platform to look back at Africa over the past 60 years - and set the agenda for the next 60 years going forward.
The discussions at the Kusi Ideas Festival will focus on four key themes: Feeding Africa’s Billions; Towards a Borderless Continent; Climate Change, and Human Security in Africa. “The festival will be held in different African cities annually so that we can allow for connections of people who would shape the continent’s future in the next 60 years,” Dr Kiboro said.
Speaking on the sidelines, Mr Odinga said he will be championing African governments to provide more opportunities for the youths to thrive.
“As leaders, we need to look at where we are headed - and not dwell on the past. When we start this, it means we will be planning for the continent’s future, especially its youth. They don’t really want to know much about  national boundaries but what economic security we will provide for them. That is why I am here,” Mr Odinga said.
During the plenary discussions on the continent’s agricultural future, panellists were in agreement that use of technology holds the key to effectively  helping Africa feed itself.