May 2019, Cape Town, South Africa: The African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), in collaboration with the University of Cape Town (UCT) Convocation and the Nelson Mandela School of Public Governance (NMS), hosted a Public Symposium on the role of Young African leaders on Pan-Africanism and Regional Integration.
The Symposium was a commemoration of Africa Month, which among others seeks to increase the appreciation and demand for arts and culture, goods and services, and to stimulate competitive markets for trade among African countries.
The Symposium was structured in the form of keynote addresses and interactive panel discussions focusing on topical issues and themes relating to Nationalism and Pan-African Citizenry, African Integration and the Free Movement of People, as well as Youth and Business Innovation in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
The event was preceded by a networking dinner and keynote address by Professor Ibrahim Gambari, Chairperson of the APR Panel. Prof Gambari noted that the platform is critical, among other efforts, to secure Africa’s future through youth and women. He discussed the nexus between peace, security, democracy and development and the imperative of leadership in achieving the Africa which the Africans want, in the context the African Union Agenda 2063. Prof Gambari asserted that to achieve the “Africa we want”, youth must be at the centre of this change.
The APRM CEO, Professor Eddy Maloka, in his capacity as the President of the UCT Convocation, delivered the opening statement for the symposium. He noted that Africa Day is commemorated by the African Union on 25 May each year, and that discussions on the themes of Pan-African Africanism and Regional integration, including the Free Movement of People, are timely. He stated that one of the outcomes of the Symposium would be to create a platform where all those in attendance would work together to find solutions to the challenges facing the African Continent. In particular, that the APRM Continental Secretariat would work with, among others, Youth Envoys to ensure that the youth is part of creating Africa’s future.
In her Opening Statement, Prof. Mamokgethi Phakeng, the Vice-Chancellor of UCT highlighted that the theme of the symposium is aligned to the AU agenda 2063: “The Africa We Want”. Furthermore, she indicated that as Africans we want this continent to thrive, and to achieve this we need to support one another and mould and support leaders who can make this vision a reality. She also emphasised the need to take advantage of the ingenuity and innovative thinking that is springing up across the continent. In her concluding remark, she urged those in attendance to, as an African community, continue to communicate, share ideas and exchange expertise because the “Africa we want to see has to do with our young people”.
Prof Alan Hirsch, Director of the Nelson Mandela School of Public Governance, UCT introduced the relevance of the topic: African Integration and the Free Movement of People and stated that it is the responsibility of this generation to rethink African boundaries and unite all 55 African countries.
Hon. Brigitte Mabandla, Member of the APR panel of Eminent Persons, congratulated the University of Cape Town and the UCT Vice Chancellor for organizing this event in celebration of Africa Day. She highlighted the importance of sharing APRM’s experience in assessing regional integration, youth leadership and free movement. She indicated that the free movement of people can be a catalyst for economic growth in Africa.
In the same vein, Prof. Carlos Lopes of the Nelson Mandela School of Public Governance at UCT, and Former Head of UNECA and Advisor to UN Secretary General on Africa, stated that there is a need for the revision of the regional integration instruments that have been used in the past, as it is evident in the case of African Union’s Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA). The session theme centred around the promotion of African Unity and Integration and discussions further touched on areas of trade, intra-Africa migration and immigration.
The second session discussed issues of Nationalism, Identity and Pan-African Citizenry. Panellists interrogated what it means to be African, the advantages and disadvantages of Nationalism, securing the rights of marginalized people, and advancing Africa’s transformative agenda.
The third session focused on vibrant discussions on youth leadership in Business Innovation and the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Panellists alluded to technology as an enabler of Africa’s Development. It was noted that African States must embrace technological change and empower young leaders to promote better governance. Questions centred around the preparedness of Africa’s policy landscape for the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The session concluded with a call to Africans, especially the youth, to be the ones who define what the Fourth Industrial Revolution looks like for Africa.
The Symposium Panellists comprised representation from across the continent, including Mr Msingathi Sipuka of the United Nations (UN), South Africa; Prof. Faizel Ismail, Director-Designate at the Nelson Mandela School of Public Governance, UCT; Ms Maureen Achieng, Chief of Mission at the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) Ethiopia, and representative to AU, UNECA and IGAD; Dr Omar Badsha, Chief Executive Officer, South African History Online (SAHO); Prof. Lungisile Ntsebeza, Professor and holder of the AC Jordan Chair in African Studies, UCT; Dr Siphokazi Magadla, Senior lecturer in the Political and International Studies Department, Rhodes University; Mr Rendani Mamphiswana, member of the Presidency’s Commission on the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), South Africa and Ms Asanda Lobelo, SRC President at UCT, amongst many others.
The symposium was attended by over 200 delegates comprising the UCT Alumni and student community, APRM member state Ambassadors, academics, representatives of international development agencies, policy practitioners, independent researchers and civil society.
For inquiries please contact:
Liziwe Selana (Head of Communications APRM)