Tale of the past : the birth of a vision

We found an old feature CNN did on us 9 years ago (in 2011) for Africa 2.0’s second gathering. This forum was aimed at mobilizing young leaders from Africa and the Diaspora to co-create a Vision and Action Plan for Africa’s development. This led to the creation of the Africa 2.0 Manifesto; a 120 page-guidebook, detailing the framework of our proposed vision, as well as the key success factors of the execution plan.

We created our organization to be structured around country chapters, to ensure full local and regional coverage and impact, and pillar champions to drive the vision and advocate our stand on a continental and global scale.

As we look back in time, we can proudly count some major achievements on the continent. Although we are not taking sole credit for such advancements, we are proud to claim that we contributed by being at the forefront of some major developments for the continent listed below:

1. A Vision for Africa: in January 2012 a delegation of Africa 2.0 members went to the African Union Annual Meeting of Heads of States, and presented the Africa 2.0 Manifesto to urge leaders to draft a vision for the African continent. We proposed a list holistic vision based on 10 key pillars. 3 years later, on January 31st, 2015, the 24th Ordinary Assembly of the Heads of State ratified AGENDA 2063, proposing a holistic Panafrican vision and programme for the first half of this century.

2. Panafrican Free Trade Area : The free trade area was one of our strongest recommendations. 2018 finally saw the launch of African Continental Free Trade Area (ACFTA) ratified by 26 countries. As of December 2019, 54 out of 55 ratified the treaty, making ACFTA the largest free trade area in the world in terms of countries and landmass. The current initiative was coordinated by a former member of Africa 2.0 active contributor to our Manifesto 10 years ago.

3. Rebranding Africa: Afro-culture and stronger pride emerged rapidly as a mainstream trend, supported by more prominent African content, innovation and creativity. The active contribution of the African diaspora and active mobilization of the new generation of African influencers, the continent’s narrative has evolved from being coined “The Hopeless Continent” to “The Last Frontier of opportunities”. Foreign Direct investment in Africa increased by 200% between 2010 & 2019.

4. Promote Entrepreneurship and Job creation. Our recommendation for stronger focus on youth and women was heard by many leaders. Most countries have deployed Youth Funds or Affirmative procurement policies reserving 20-30% of government procurement for young and female entrepreneurs. Africa innovation and entrepreneurship spirit and trends significantly rose over the past decade. For instance, Global Venture Capital to African Start Ups increased 7 times over the past 5 years.

5. Accelerate digital economy : Transform Africa Summit held in Kigali in 2013 launched Smart Africa Initiative to accelerate sustainable socioeconomic development on the continent, ushering Africa into a knowledge-economy through affordable access to Broadband. Furthermore, usage of Information and Communications Technologies is now endorsed by 30 Heads of States. To date 89% of Adults in Africa own a cellphone (versus 30% 10 years ago). The penetration of internet connected Smartphones is anticipated to reach 87% by 2025. 10 Years ago it was easier purchase good from a shop in Nairobi than in New York. To date 40% of Kenya GDP is transacted through mobile phone.

Africa 2.0 began in the margins of the final phase of Football World Cup final in South Africa in 2010. For the first time ever, the planet had its eyes focused on a continent filled with hope, joy and celebration.

Leveraging on the presence of many key decision makers in South Africa during this global sports celebration, we managed to gather a collective of young and senior leaders from Africa and the diaspora to collectively design and implement an innovative plan to accelerate Africa’s development. It was clear to us that the time had come to take action. We needed a vehicle, an entity that could carry those plans. It would of course be a geographically decentralized non-for-profit organization. We also needed to give it a name. We cherished the ambition to build the next version of Africa, therefore Africa 2.0 naturally emerged as a favored name for this initiative. The journey began…

Our beginnings were quite challenging to say the least. Most people were saying “it will never work”, “it’s too ambitious”, “Africa is not ready”, or “current leaders are struggling to change their country, let alone a whole continent”. While most leaders were turning their back on us. We did not give in to hopelessness or despair and continued our journey.

After many failures and disappointments to rally leaders behind such initiative, we finally got a breakthrough and received the warm support of Graca Machel, Nelson Mandela and former President Obasanjo, the first leaders to see the value of our initiative and embrace us.

We carried on our journey and collaborated collectively from 60 different locations across the continent and around the world to prepare the Africa 2.0 Manifesto proposing a master plan to help the continent leapfrog inspired by a vision for an enlightened, united and prosperous Africa.

6 months after the CNN Report below we were at the African Union, presenting our Manifesto to Heads of States, and in Davos at the World Economic Forum engaging with global leaders on the upcoming role of Africa in the Global Economy.

The rest is history…we are now dealing with COVID19.