1st July, 2020, was when trading under the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) was due to commence, creating the world’s biggest free-trade area. In recognition of this historic feat, African Heads of State declared July 7th of every year as African Integration Day.
In a time of Covid-19 the moment is riper than any other to move from talk to action in deepening African solidarity, integration, self-sufficiency, global competitiveness and sense of pride.
Working with the African Union, Afrochampions conceived the Boma of Africa to highlight and showcase the power of fusing ideas, the creative imagination and technology innovation into a political agenda of African renaissance. The two founding organisations were subsequently joined by several strategic partners, such as Afreximbank, OCP Group, and BADEA, the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa.
The Boma of Africa is a month-long virtual festival climaxing in the African Integration Week, the iconic few days between the original AfCFTA launch date and Africa Integration Day.
Reflecting the rich mosaic of forces, trends, ideas, beliefs, histories, arts, sciences, innovations and passions charting the path to Africa’s inevitable destiny of unity and prosperity, the Partners have lined up an eclectic array of convenings and activities to capture as much of the spirit of Pan-Africanism as possible.
- On July 1st, 2020, the opening ceremony involving leaders of continental institutions and other shapers of Africa’s collective vision shall be held virtually.
- On July 4th, two of Africa’s most intellectually vibrant and innovative universities – Ashesi University and African Leadership University – shall provide alternative simulations of how Africa will look like in 2063 (the AU’s grand timeline for continental transformation) based on four different assumptions of what happens between then and now.
- On July 3rd, some of Africa’s topmost intellectuals shall cross swords in a virtual debate on alternative visions of Africa’s present and future.
- On July 5th, 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, 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. Last on the bill for this packed day is 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.
- Friends of Africa need not wait for Integration Day to join the celebration. Since June 12th, the Boma has been accepting entries at https://africaboma.com/creative_art_challenge 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 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. One Grand Prize in the form of a $50,000 grant investment is also up for grabs, alongside three other generous 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.
The African Union and Afrochampions welcome all Africans and friends of Africa to join in this passionate commemoration of a unique juncture in Africa’s ever inspiring story.
They can start by visiting The Boma of Africa website to register.
Questions may be directed to:
Prudence Kabwe – KabweP@africa-union.org
Maud Isliker – firstname.lastname@example.org