On Friday, Nov. 5, Denver-based Africa Agenda held its 6th Annual Africa Summit where attendees participated in a variety of table discussions. Centered on the subject of Resilient Africa, the discussions highlighted lessons the African continent can offer towards bouncing back and thriving in the face of adversity. Conversation topics included peace and justice, human rights, agriculture, security, education, energy, people’s power, and development.
While the yearly event was canceled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year the organization used the time to reflect with a celebration of the resilience of the African continent.
In the midst of the pandemic, the work of governments across the African continent aimed at controlling COVID became the subject of much speculation from American and European media.
Africa Agenda seized on the opportunity to remind attendees that the continent has always used challenging situations to thrive and show the world its true potential, and this pandemic was no exception.
“A Pandemic of Hope,” Scott DuPree, member of Africa Agenda’s executive board called it.
“We started out by talking about the problems of development in Africa, but we ended up going into all the things that Africa can teach us,” summit attendee Steve Brooks, Architecture and planning director at Urban Planning Constellation, Denver, said. “The leapfrogging of technology is one of the things that I reported. They are able to leapfrog technology in Africa beyond what western nations have done. So, that’s affecting everything like energy, banking, transportation.”
“There’s also a positive attitude that came from my group about how the youth in Africa is changing the continent, holding leaders accountable and helping to create good governance,” Brooks added.
While topics differed across the room, discussion methods were similar, acknowledging what needs improvement while also highlighting what is being done well.
Conversations like these are the core of Africa Agenda’s mission.
“We want to change the narrative about the African Continent,” George Bamu, founder and executive director of Africa Agenda said during his opening statement. “We’re not dismissing the issues the African continent faces or the challenges which often lead to increasing poverty or the coup d’états. Those are real, they actually happen. But the thing that’s missing is the other side. In journalism, they say there are two sides to every story. But where is the other side of the story about the African continent? That is when we as an organization we come in.”
“What matters is Africa’s truth, the world must hear it,” Zaneta Varnado Johns, an award-winning poet, and keynote speaker at the event said to conclude her speech.
About 100 people from across the US attended this year’s event which was held at the Field House in downtown Denver, Colorado.
Since its foundation in 2004, Africa Agenda took on the quest to give readers a balanced version of African news. Through its Africa News Matters website, the organization analyzes and exposes foreign media’s one-sided narrative of Africa.