African leading think tanks are preparing a debate on the African Union (AU) to decide whether the Union is relevant.
The debate scheduled to take place in Kigali in April is themed “Is the African Union a necessity?” It is part of the annual event entitled Africa Report Debates organized by Africa Report Magazine and supported by Mo Ibrahim Foundation.
Launched in 2015 by Ghanian ex- president John Dramani Mahama, the Africa Report Debates event offers a unique platform for thought-provoking discussions.
It aims at providing Africa’s leaders with an open forum to discuss ideas and policies with a diverse audience.
Over 400 leaders and decision makers from 24 African countries and 10 industries will attend the debate due on April 27th 2018 in Kigali.
Confirmed for the debate is Moise Katumbi, a Congolese opposition politician and businessman who will use his experience to highlight on gaps in use and distribution of Africa’s wealth.
Dr. Donald Kaberuka, of Global Leadership Foundation and former President of the Africa Development Bank (AfDB) is expected to showcase the thin line between politics and finance lag in Africa’s development.
Dr. Carlos Lopes, a Guinea Bissau Professor, Economist and former Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa will also bring on the mathematics of money on the continent.
Kaberuka and Lopes attended last year’s debates held on April 7th 2017 in Marrakech – Morocco where they discussed: “Is Africa’s Development an Illusion?”
“The sharpest points of the debate, which I think stayed with people, and helped inform their thinking throughout the year, was on how much of Africa’s undeniable growth has been shared. For many women, men and children living in Nigeria, Africa’s growth has been a mirage – they haven’t seen it,” said Nicholas Norbrook , the Africa Report Managing editor.
“Though Morocco may have new airports and clinics, the rural people around the mountains in the north of the country have not shared so much in Morocco’s prosperity. Although Morocco was certainly one of those countries mentioned who had done the most to uplift the general population, along with Ethiopia and Rwanda.”
Both Kaberuka and Lopes have also met in several other forums. They are members of African Union reform committee which they serve under the leadership of President Paul Kagame.President Kagame is also expected to grace this event.
For this year, Norbrook says that the debate about African Union makes more sense than ever.
“Hopefully President Kagame’s arrival at the African Union will begin a new era, where African peoples can actually see the point of having an organization that can fix new trade routes, build interconnections between countries in power and logistics, as well as take the initiative in providing security,” he said.