Imagine if an "education revolution" sparked a wave of intellectually curiosity across the African continent. If young children in rural villages across the continent could access vital resources needed to ensure their success and that of their communities. What if we could even find the next Einstien on the Adrican continent? Neil Turok delves into all of these queries in this thought-provoking lecture. Take a look, and as always prepare to look forward to the realization of a better tommorow.
By: Deonta D. Wortham
Today, United States President Barack Obama became the first sitting U.S. president to address the African Union at its headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. In prepared remarks that drew on personal and political anecdotes, President Obama reaffirmed his commitment - and that of the United States government - to the development of the African continent and her people.
President Obama's address closes a historic tour across East Africa that led him to stop in his father's native Kenya and the neighboring country of Ethiopia.
Throughout his diplomatic excurision, President Obama has repeatedly remarked on the incredible dynamism being seen across the African continent. Whether in noting the strides of individual African governments or the immense potential found in the continent's burgeoning youth population, President Obama has shown his unwavering support for Africa's growth - and his commitment to ensure that the United States plays a vital role in assisting the continent through its development journey in the years and decades to come.
Take a moment to view President Obama's historic speech to the African Union in Addis below, or read the entirety of President Obama's remarks here!
Take a moment to view this insightful discussion led by international reporter Leslie Dodson on the importance that images and stories - produced by well-intentioned reporters, researchers, and NGO officials - have on the international community's perception of the African continent.
As Dodson states, " it's time to stop misrepresenting Africa."
By: Deonta D. Wortham
Tomorrow, members of academia, business leaders, and countless civil servants will converge upon Cape Town International Convention Centre in Cape Town, South Africa to discuss a plethora of economic issues that face the African continent at the 25th World Economic Forum on Africa.
This year's forum, given the theme "Then and Now: Reimagining Africa’s Future," will have three central ‘pillars’: Enabling Markets, Marshalling Resources, and Inspiring Creativity. Focusing on these three area's the forum aims to improve, engage, and lastly inspire actors capable of optimizing the continent’s economic prospects.
Above all, this esteemed group of individuals is meeting to display an unprecedented commitment to the role that collaboration between private and public sectors will have on the African continent’s evolving development process in the coming decades.
Since the inaugural World Economic Forum on Africa in 1990, the continent has witnessed countless economic and societal advances. Across the continent, annual growth rates of 8% are the “new norm.” New economic opportunities are arising in the region’s bustling urban centers. Human capital development across the continent is increasingly seen as a priority by regional and national authorities. Lastly, a growing cohort of international actors are increasing investing in Africa’s burgeoning economies. In short, the past twenty-five years have produced a 'new' Africa.
However, countless issues still plague the continent.
Today, only 19% of Africa’s highways are paved. Nearly two-thirds of Africa’s burgeoning youth population have failed to acquire ‘equitable’ skills needed to enter the labor market. Numerous travel restrictions prevent African goods, and people, from crossing national borders in an efficient manner. Finally, fears of political instability and market fragility have limited the flow of foreign capital into many African markets.
These are longstanding issues that have existed for decades, it is up to the individuals attending this year’s World Economic Forum to collaboratively address concerns that are actively suppressing the African economy's development. Though not every development related issue will be solved over the course of three days, inclusive conversations and proactive discussions can certainly prompt exchanges on how to address these issues in the coming years.
The World Economic Forum serves an incubator for sustainable and transformative solutions. Here’s to a worthwhile conference, that will hopefully initiate transformative collaboration across the continent!
"The year 2015 will be an eventful one for the more than one billion people living in Africa. China, Africa’s largest trading partner, will hold the Sixth Forum on China-Africa Cooperation; the Post-2015 Development Agenda will chart a new course for global responses to poverty; West Africa will begin its recovery from the devastating Ebola crisis; and the continent’s largest economy, Nigeria, will face a defining presidential election (along with more than 15 other countries). Many of these milestones will bring opportunities for Africa to redefine its relationships with global partners and strengthen its voice on the world stage. Others will present obstacles to the continent’s steady march towards peace, security, and economic and human development.
On January 15th, the Africa Growth Initiative at Brookings hosted a discussion with leading Africa experts on the most important challenges the continent will face in 2015. The panel of Brookings experts offered their expertise on these pressing issues and gave recommendations to national governments, regional organizations, multilateral institutions and civil society on how to approach them in order to create a peaceful and prosperous 2015 for Africa."
-Courtesy of The Brookings Institute
Recently Donald Kaberuka, president of The African Development Bank, engaged in a comprehensive interview as a part of the Bookings Institute's "African Growth Initiative." Kaberuka spoke of a variety of issues concerning economic growth on the continent - spanning from regional economic integration to the expansion of human capital. But at the heart of this intriguing conversation were the stronghold that have propelled African economies in the second decade of this century, and their ability to prolong needed growth in the coming decades.
Take a moment to listen to the entirety of Kaberuka's discussion and see if you agree with his speculative forecast.
By: Deonta D. Wortham
We all know the feeling of admiring the beauty of a brilliant piece of architecture. Whether it is found on the island of Manhattan, the streets of Cape Town, or the arid regions Mali, there is universal appreciation for that which shapes the cities, towns, and squares that populate the regions that we consider home.
A new proposition, though, is forming on the African continent where architecture is revealing itself to be more than an “object of the gaze.” Across Sub-Saharan Africa architecture is being viewed as a medium of social change. An instrument of transformation. An assistant in the realization of engaged communities that encourage both societal and personal growth.
In a thought- provoking discussion South African architect Heinrich Wolff discusses this very topic. Wolff delves into the complexities of how structures can reinvent communities - spurring periods of growth and economic transformation.
Take a moment, and treat yourself to an intense thirty-two minutes of pure intrigue that will certainly be worth your while!
President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is a a remarkalble woman, and in describing her in that sense still seems to inadequately describe the magnitude that her work has in her native Liberia, across the African continent, and the larger international community.
President Johnson Sirleaf is Africa's first democratically elected female leader. Elected in 2007, Johnson Sirleaf began the ardous task of rebuiling a state that had only recently emerged from the despairs of civil war. During her time in office the world has noted her remarkable ability to continue the "peacebuilding" process, even this past year when the Liberian nation was effected by the Ebola outbreak.
One of Johnson Sirleaf's most poignant moments on the international stage came in 2011 when she, and two other women, were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize "for their non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women's rights to full participation in peace-building work"
To adequately understand the vision of Johnson Sirleaf I believe that it is necessary to revisit her Nobel Lecture, entitled "A Voice for Freedom," where she stated;
At the 2014 Design Indaba Conference Juliana Rotich - the co-founder of Kenyan tech firm Ushahidi - poised an a daunting question . . . "What if the solutions for the world's problems came from Africa?"
To many the thought of this concurrence would seem outlandish. Many would question the ability that African firms could bring to a gauntlet of global issues. However, Rotich's inquiry delves deep into the issues that face technological advancement across the continent.
Rotich is asking us to think of an African continent that is able to harness the potential of its citizens. An African that has the capacity to leverage creative, social, and technological growth. An African that is able to connect its citizens through the proliferation of ideas and an emphasis on collaborative innovation.
This is the Africa that Rotich is asking us imagine. Take a moment to view an short introduction to her intriguing presentation on how technology can be utilized to spur a new "vanguard" on the African continent which can be found here. It's insightful to say the very least.
By: Deonta D. Wortham
Last week in a small mountain town in Swiss Alps nearly three thousand business leader met at the annual World Economic Forum to discuss a variety of issues that currently face the global economy. Among meetings dedicated to "access to capital to developing nations" and insightful presentations by luminaries such as Will.i.am and Andrea Bocelli. Among among the many events taking place at last week's forum was the a panel dedicated to the African "growth agenda." This hour-long discussion details a host of issues that are taking place on the African continent and the effects that they could possible have on the African economy. So, without further ado let's take a virtual skip over to Davos!