NAIROBI , 19 December, 2019
As African countries strive to achieve the aspiration of the African Union (AU) Agenda 2063 on good governance and democracy, a planned forum bringing together some 100 participants under the initiative, “Together For a New Africa”, the second gathering of its kind, will see young Africans from the Eastern Africa region and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) deliberate on their African identity and the dynamics around leadership that the continent requires to achieve the AU agenda.
“We will focus on leadership and identity crisis in the region. From a workshop we had with stakeholders and experts we came to know that the main challenge for the region is identity crisis, which lead to bad leadership,” the Coordinator of the initiative, Burundian-born Dr. Melchior Nsavyimana told ACI Africa Wednesday, December 18, referencing the 9-day program that will begin on December 28 in Nairobi, Kenya.
Together for a New Africa is an initiative of former students of Italy-based Sophia University Institute run by the Focolare Movement. The initiative aims at training young African leaders to promote peace and unity on the continent, in line with the core values of the university and in line with the mission of UNESCO and the African Union Agenda 2063.
An alumnus of Sophia University Institute, Dr. Nsavyimana said that the planned forum bearing the name “Summer School” has the purpose of strengthening the regional identity of the world’s second most populous continent and that the student participants “are not just coming to learn what lecturers will be teaching, they also come to network, dialogue among them and understand each other.”
The “Summer School,” a follow up of the maiden training under “Together for a New Africa” project that brought 105 young African leaders from seven countries of East and Central Africa, is expected to bring together 100 young leaders from these countries from December 28 to January 5 in the Focolare premises of Mariapolis Piero in Juja, North of Nairobi.
“For us it's very important to see a Rwandese, a Burundian, a DR Congolese sitting together and discussing issues knowing well the political situation among those countries where they are accusing each other of being enemies,” Mr. Nsavyimana said, highlighting the various nationalities that will be represented, some other countries being Kenya as the host nation, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, South Sudan among others.
According Dr. Nsavyimana, the identity crisis in Africa is “tribal, political and cultural” and has the potential to become an ideology over time.
During the planned forum there will be, among other engagements, extracurricular activities to reinforce the regional identity and leadership such as cultural nights “where each country can present its culture and celebrate the New Year together – how do you celebrate the new year in Tanzania, Burundi, Uganda,” Dr. Nsavyimana who lectures at the Nairobi-based Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA) said.
The gathering is expected to help the expected 100 participants to “see how we are going to face the challenges given that it’s a period where many countries are going through elections like in Burundi in 2020 and Kenya in 2022,” the Burundian national told ACI Africa.
According to Ernst Ulz, the project’s funds coordinator, the annual forum under “Together for a New Africa” initiative seeks to empower African youths “to shape the future of the continent – the Africa they want: inclusive, (that) unites and one that aims at the common good.”
ACI Africa was officially inaugurated on August 17, 2019 as a continental Catholic news agency at the service of the Church in Africa. Headquartered in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, this media apostolate will strive to facilitate the telling of Africa’s story by providing media coverage of Catholic events on the African continent, giving visibility to the activities of the Church across Africa where statistics show significant growth in numbers and the continent gradually becoming the axis of Catholicism. This is expected to contribute to an awareness of and appreciation for the significant role of the Church in Africa and over time, the realization of a realistic image of Africa that often receives negative media framing.
Father Don Bosco Onyalla
Editor-in-Chief, ACI Africa