The IGW: A Platform for African Leaders to Speak Out

The 2023 Ibrahim Governance Weekend (IGW) was held in Nairobi, Kenya, from April 28-30. The forum brought together African leaders, politicians, thought leaders, the private sector, and civil society representatives from around the world to discuss the key role that Africa can play in a world confronted with multiplying, cumulative global challenges, such as climate change, pandemics, and conflicts.

The theme of the IGW was “Global Africa.” The panelists addressed vital points like Africa’s voice and weight in the current multilateral systems, whether it is relevant and strong enough, and how to make it better.

Nathalie Delapalme, Executive Director of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, said that the forum aims to provide a platform for a frank talk about Africa between not just African stakeholders but also partners of Africa in learning about Africa’s decisions, opinions, and positions.

She further emphasized that it is important for Africa to narrate her own narrative in her own voice, which will enable the highlighting of major problems faced thereby escalating the conversation to solutions to become more viable in this context.

President Ruto, while opening the event, welcomed the world leaders and representatives to Kenya, hinting at the essentiality of this convention since Africa is geared up to have a uniform agenda for everyone’s betterment.

“It is our responsibility. They say it is the wearer who knows where the shoe pinches. So, it is our responsibility to engineer the debate that we will put on the table our perspective, our point of view, on what kind of financial architecture – global financial architecture – that would work not just for us but for everybody,” said President Ruto.

President William Ruto of Kenya during the IGW in Nairobi

Additionally, IGW, Africa- Europe Foundation (AEF), co-founded by Friends of Europe and the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, focuses on a stronger Africa-Europe Partnership to catalyze cooperation from the redesign of financial systems to innovative partnership on ocean governance and blue economy, energy access and transitions, and reinforcing the potential of youth voice, agency, and leadership to challenge misperceptions.

Mo Ibrahim, Founder and Chair of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation opening the event asked about Africa’s stance considering the changing times on the world stage as he called on African leaders to stand in unity now more than ever.

“I think everybody knows that the world is changing. All of the previous assumptions are being broken. We are seeing different powers rising, tensions, and camps being formed – so where exactly is Africa’s place here? Europe, and the rest of the world too, should not underestimate Africa, talk down to Africa or give instructions to Africa – Don’t take Africa for granted!” said Mo Ibrahim.

Mo Ibrahim, Founder and Chair of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation

IGW convention inviting high-level members sought to find one voice that the African continent can speak in unison if it to enact change in the global space from financing to trading.

H.E. Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the African Union Commission, said that as it projected Africa’s population will more than double by 2100, its youth will be half of the world’s youth.

“Africa, Latin America, and Europe will lose about 490 million people in the same period. The result is an immeasurable potential for initiative, creativity, and productive growth in all areas of human assets. This will be Africa’s century,” said H.E. Moussa Faki Mahamat.

The IGW was a timely and important event that brought together leaders from all over the world to discuss the future of Africa. The forum highlighted the importance of Africa’s voice in the global arena and the need for Africa to unite in order to enact change.

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