Panels

TECH

The Role of Technology in Africa's Development

The Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) represents a tectonic shift in the means of production and operations of everyday life. Namely, disruptive technologies like machine learning, artificial intelligence, and big data, are transforming the way we conduct business and the work of government. As a continent plagued by the historic injustices of colonialism and the needs of development, Africa can leverage this technological inflection point to achieve the goals of industrialization and inclusive growth. In this Anthropocene epoch, technology and bold leadership offer a means to resolve our developmental challenges like education, health, and climate change.

EDUCATION

The Role of Higher Education in Africa’s Human and Social Development

The core mission of higher education is to generate, disseminate, and utilizes knowledge. Its purpose is to produce high-quality human capital to meet the socio-cultural and developmental needs of a country. Therefore, a country’s social and economic development depends on the nature and level of its higher education institutions. In Africa, the higher education sector faces many challenges that threaten its relevance, sustainability, and contribution to the continent’s economic transformation and human capital development. The purpose of this panel is to discuss some of the challenges that higher education is facing as well as explore innovative solutions, policies, and collaborations that can transform these challenges into opportunities to make Africa’s higher education sector a vibrant and more productive one.

ART AND CULTURE

African Art, Culture, and Economic Development

Although culture is one of Africa’s richest assets, in conversations around economic development and sustainability, it often goes overlooked. From the Year of Return to reappropriation of African art from European museums, the impact of African culture on the world cannot go unnoticed and has the potential to drive economic growth at the local and national level. How can African culture spur economic growth and how can the ordinary African reap the benefits? What role can the Diaspora play in promoting African stories worldwide? What narratives and social norms must be adopted across the continent in order to invest more in culture? How can governments in Africa be more proactive in supporting the arts and other creative endeavors?

HEALTHCARE

10 years from 2030, how can Africa progress towards Universal Health Coverage?

As part of the Sustainable Development Goals, the world set an ambitious target to achieve Universal Health Coverage (UHC) by 2030. UHC simply means that all individuals and communities receive good-quality essential health services they need without suffering financial hardship. However, with 10 years away, Africa’s healthcare system remains largely characterized by weak financing, dearth of health workforce, inadequate technology and ineffective policies. The hope of Africa achieving UHC by 2030 thus appears bleak. This session aims to explore catalysts needed to accelerate Africa’s progress towards UHC.

GENDER EQUALITY, WOMEN'S RIGHTS

Agents of Change: Local Solutions to Achieving Gender Equality in Africa

Africa today is the base of massive gender inequality. Women, despite being the continent's majority population earn far less than men, are deeply underrepresented in political power, and greatly lag men on key educational and health indices. They also suffer from violence and discrimination. Luckily, there continues to be a growing movement of local activists and civil society organizations devoted to improving the conditions, political status, and economic livelihood of women within sub-Saharan Africa. This panel will focus on their efforts, the achievements they've established, best practices learned on the ground, and suggestions and advice on where the fight goes next.

 

CONFLICT RESOLUTION, PEACE

Innovation in Conflict Resolution and Peacemaking: Leveraging the Power of Play for  Peace

Identity politics and conflict along ethenic, tribal, and power lines plague the continent of Africa. Conflict often pits individuals and groups against each other based on inalienable features and is often fueled by separation and lack of shared experiences. Sports and play for peace have been used to provide individuals and youth in conflict area’s a sense of identity, purpose, and an escape from the daily reality of conflict. Play allows youth to regain a sense of normalcy, and the opportunity to just be kids again. This session will highlight innovative approaches towards conflict resolution and peace peacemaking. Come learn about peace building initiatives spearheaded through the use of play and sports.

ENTREPRENEURSHIP

Unleashing Africa's Development through Entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurship is seen as one of the most sustainable job generation tools in Africa. So far, entrepreneurship has yielded good returns for many African entrepreneurs; however, there remain huge untapped potential for business on the continent. Our goal is to spur a robust discussion about entrepreneurship where our distinguished speakers can share anecdotes and insights that will enlighten attendees on the opportunities and challenges that exist for entrepreneurial minds in Africa. We will explore how our speakers have navigated technology, talent, governance, infrastructure and industry ecosystems along their entrepreneurial journeys.

Harvard Kennedy School
March 27-28, 2020

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