World Economic Forum on Africa-WEF-AfricaWorld Economic Forum on Africa

The most important in this week’s headlines out of and about Africa, for those who need help catching up.

In this week’s news, the World Economic Forum on Africa holds in the Rwandan capital, and African push for a European-style integration of the continent.

Who Cares: World Economic Forum on Africa Holds In Rwanda

The 26th World Economic Forum on Africa, a part of the World Economic Forum, a not-for-profit platform which engages leaders and nations around the world for public-private partnerships, is scheduled to hold in the Rwandan capital, Kigali from May 11 to 13.

The Rwanda Eye reports that “The three day forum expected to kick off on Wednesday at Kigali Conference and Exhibition Village (Camp Kigali) is seen as a platform that is likely to ignite ideas and strategies that would help to leapfrog the continent’s economy.”

A bold agenda has been laid out for the meeting this year and it includes digital technologies and trends, African entrepreneurship, as well as a look at the continent’s tech industry.

“Convening under the theme, Connecting Africa’s Resources through Digital Transformation, the discussion in Kigali will take up where the Forum’s Annual Meeting in Davos-Klosters in January left off: by seeking to identify priorities and actions for Africa’s leaders as they look to build economies resilient to today’s challenges and able to flourish in the increasingly digital, convergent marketplaces of tomorrow, “ according to eTurbo News.

“Participating in the discussions in Kigali will be over 1,200 leaders from government, business, civil society, academia, media and the arts.”

So—what’s the big deal?

Rwanda is the second Eastern African nation to host the meeting, after Tanzania in 2010.

Kigali, Rwanda, is widely known as the epicenter of the 1994 genocide in which millions of Rwanda citizens were slaughtered by their fellow citizens.

Writing for Ventures Africa,  Fumnanya Agbugah states:

“Regardless, Rwanda has dramatically transformed its economy, emerging as a regional high-tech hub that boasts one of sub-Saharan Africa’s fastest GDP growth rates. It is one of the continent’s most competitive economies and a top reformer in improving the business environment. In the past two years it has successfully hosted several notable conferences like the pan-African AfDB Annual Meeting in 2014, Transform Africa Summit in 2013 and 2015, and the 84th Interpol General Assembly in 2015. Rwanda is expected to host the African Union Summit in July and the Africa Hotel Investment Forum in October, this year.”

Push for a European-Style African Union Gaining Steam

Former Libyan leader, Muammar Qaddafi may be gone but his legacy lives on.

Qaddafi, overthrown and killed in a United States inspired coup, led by rebels, was known for chaos that resulted in his leadership of Libya. But one of the positive marks of his time in office was the contributions he made towards the creation of today’s African Union or AU.

Known for his Pan-African ideas, to unite disparate pieces of the African continent under a single umbrella, Qaddafi  advocated for a unified African military to defend the entire continent, as well as a single currency and passport for all of Africa, similar to the European Union (EU).

While the man is gone, pieces of his dream will surface in discussions during the World Economic Forum on Africa in the Rwandan capital, Kigali, from May 11 to 13. That’s according to this Newsweek magazine story.

The idea of unity among African nations dates back to the 1960’s when many of them gained independence from their colonial masters. But the former Libyan leader is largely credited for the pivotal role he played in the unification of the continent and towards the creation of the AU in 2000.

“There’s a growing sense among many proponents of greater unity between African nations that now is the time to push for a deal to form a similar bloc. In its Agenda 2063—a platform announced in 2013 outlining policies necessary to transform the continent over the following 50 years—the AU proposed establishing a Continental Free Trade Area by 2017, abolishing visa requirements for African citizens in African countries by 2018 and eventually introducing an African passport.”

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