The African Union (AU) and Afrochampions, the pan-African business leadership network focused on regional integration and economic emancipation, are set to July 1st, launch the inaugural Boma of Africa, a virtual month-long festival meant to be a broader celebration of Africa Integration Day: July 7th.
It would be recalled that July 7th was declared as Africa Integration Day by the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union (AU Assembly), on the occasion of the Twelfth Extraordinary Session of the AU Assembly focused on the African Continental Free Trade Area (AFCFTA), held July 7-8 in Niamey, Niger.
Consequently, the AU, AfroChampions, Afreximbank, Speak Up Africa, and the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (BADEA), ahead of the July 1st 2020 date for the commencement of trade under the AfCFTA, are hosting series of events to commemorate the inaugural Africa Integration Day, beginning July 1st through July 12th.
The Boma of Africa will feature a “series of insightful convenings to drive the ‘African Integration’ agenda through a strategic high-level engagement between the continental governance institutions, represented by the AU Commission and the African private sector, represented by its strategic partner Afrochampions,” say the organisers. “This festival seeks to move beyond mere deliberations and delve deep into actions; actions that can inspire Africans to trailblaze in various fields such as science and technology, education and creative arts, as well as hone the region’s talents for our common good.”
The Boma will commence on July 1st with a virtual inaugural panel discussion series which promises to be “thought-provoking panel discussions with esteemed and distinguished leaders, former heads of states and experts in Africa.” Themed: ‘Africa trade, economic integration and growth in the context of post COVID-19 Pandemic: the road ahead’, the panel discussions will feature former African heads of state including former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo; former Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf as well as Hailemariam Desalegn, former Prime Minister of Ethiopia, amongst others.
Between July 6th and 12th, the Boma will feature a Creative Arts Challenge, which the organisers say was an “effort to identify Africa’s most powerful, undiscovered, creatives and artists to plug them into regional development agencies and multinationals so that they can help these African Champions communicate more authentically to a youthful African audience discovering or rediscovering their spiritual connection to Africa’s ancient culture.” A grand prize of $50,000 grant investment will be won, alongside three other cash prizes, across the challenge’s eight categories of creative arts and sciences.
As part of the Boma, the AU and its private sector collaborators will be launching a technology platform to assist African governments in their efforts to reopen their countries, without risking a surge in COVID-19 infections. Additionally, a program designed to take Africa’s emerging fashion designers global, in partnership with global merchandising brands and e-commerce platforms, will be launched, among many other activities lined up for the inaugural Boma of Africa festival.
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Author: Adam Alqali