The African Union (AU) in collaboration with the AfroChampions Initiative will be celebrating the continent's cultural diversity via a virtual festival dubbed Boma of Africa through out the month of July.
The celebrations will climax during the African Integration Week, which began on July 1 when the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) was launched, and will continue till July 7 when the continent will mark the Africa Integration Day.
Exhibiting the rich mosaic of culture, history, languages, forces, trends, ideas, beliefs, arts, sciences, innovations and passions charting the path to Africa's destiny of unity and prosperity, the partners have lined up an eclectic array of meetings and activities to capture as much of the spirit of Pan-Africanism as possible.
"If you want to understand your future, you have to understand your past. You need to use the past to inform you the future," said firebrand Kenyan lawyer PLO Lumumba who is a panelist at the online event.
Creatives and artists from all 54 states are being called upon to participate in the Creative Arts Challenge which starts today at 4PM (East African Time) and compete for a Sh5 million investment grant by registering on the Boma of Africa website.
"Since June 12, the Boma has been accepting entries for the Creative Arts Challenge, an effort to identify Africa's most powerful, undiscovered, creatives and artists to plug them into regional development agencies and multinationals," a statement seen by the Nation reads.
Three other cash prizes, for those bold artistic minds that will outshine the rest in any of the Challenge's eight categories of creative arts and sciences, will also be up for grabs.
This, it says, will help African Champions communicate more authentically to a youthful African audience discovering or rediscovering their spiritual connection to Africa's ancient culture.
The event enters its fourth day today, with Africa's vibrant and innovative universities – Ashesi University of Ghana and African Leadership University of Mauritius– providing alternative simulations of how Africa will look like by 2063.
The debate is graced by eminent personalities such as Dr Ameenah Gurib-Fakim – 6th President of Mauritius, Ms Sarah Mbi Enow Anyang – Commissioner of Science,Technology and HR; AUC, Prof Felix Dakora – President, Africa Academy of Sciences and Tei Konzi – Commissioner for Trade, Customs and Free Movement.
Yesterday, some of Africa's topmost intellectuals crossed swords in a virtual debate on alternative visions of Africa's present and future.
Apart from Prof Lumumba of the Kenyan School of Law, other intellectuals include Prof Emmanuel Akyeampong, a professor of History, African and African American Studies at Harvard University, Dr Frannie Leautier, CEO of Southbridge Group and Prof Manal Al-Sayed, Professor of Pediatrics at Ain Shams University, Cairo, Egypt.
Special guests are Ellen Sirleaf-Johnson, the former President of Liberia, Olusegun Obasanjo, former President of Nigeria, and Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, former President of Mauritius. The debate will be moderated by the globally respected journalist and former CNN anchor, Isha Sesay.
The festival, which also has Afreximbank, OCP Group, and BADEA, the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa as partners is aimed at bringing together leaders of continental institutions and other shapers of Africa's collective vision to drive forward Africas's socio-economic agenda in a period of Fourth Industrial Revolution disruption.
Tomorrow, the AU and its private sector collaborators shall launch a technology platform to assist African governments in their efforts to reopen African countries without risking a surge of infections.
"On the same day, the Essential Innovation and Design Accelerator (EIDA), a program designed to take Africa's emerging fashion designers global by partnering with global merchandising brands and e-commerce platforms shall make its debut," says the statement.
The showcase will also include the Reinventing African Storytelling Agenda which will be joined by the founder of the world's largest advertising and PR group, accomplished athletes, entrepreneurs and other African celebrities such as Didier Drogba, Ms Deborah Ahenkorah, Mr Dikembe Mutombo, Esther Dyson and MrLuol Deng.
A feasibility study into an initiative that pairs children's literature with physical toys and digital animation to water the content desert of authentic African stories for children and teens will also be conducted.