The African Union (AU) and AfroChampions have launched the Boma of Africa virtual festival to highlight and celebrate the integration of Africa.

The month-long festival climaxes the Africa Integration Week, which is a few days between the original AfCFTA launch date on July 1, and Africa Integration Day on July 7, 2020.

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.

The festival, which has Afreximbank, OCP Group, and BADEA; the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa as partners, is aimed at beginning relevant conversations and intentional actions that will chart the path to Africa’s inevitable destiny of unity and prosperity.

Various activities lined up to as part of the festival include:

The Grand Debates: 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. Some of these globally renowned intellectuals include Prof. Emmanuel Akyeampong, a professor of history and African and African American Studies at Harvard University, Prof. P.L.O Lumumba of the Kenyan School of Law, Dr Frannie Leautier, CEO of Southbridge Group and Prof. Manal Al-Sayed, Professor of Pediatrics at Ain Shams University, Cairo, Egypt.

Special guests include 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.

Africa Futures Scenarios: On July 4th, two of Africa’s most intellectually vibrant and innovative universities – Strathmore 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.

The debate will be graced by eminent personalities such as Dr Ameenah Gurib-Fakim – 6th President of Mauritius, 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.

Showcases: On July 5th, the AU and its private sector collaborators shall launch PanaBios, a technology platform created 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), designed to take Africa’s emerging fashion designers global by partnering with global merchandising brands and e-commerce platforms shall make its grand debut.

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, Deborah Ahenkorah, Dikembe Mutombo, Esther Dyson, Luol Deng, etc.

The last session on the much-anticipated Showcase 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.

5. 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 ten categories of creative arts and sciences.