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Kigali Global Dialogue 2019 | Conference Report

The world’s centre of gravity is inextricably shifting. Over the last decade, transformative economic growth has ushered an era of unprecedented prosperity in the developing world—a process that is changing the very fabric of the global economic architecture. As the rest of the world confronts a period of economic uncertainty, Asia and Africa have maintained their trajectory of rapid industrialisation, digitisation and integration with the global economy. All signs indicate that this trajectory of growth will continue, with emerging economies projected to account for 60 percent of the global economy by 2030. Given that declining growth and shrinking labour pools will continue to ail advanced economies, it is clear that the 21st century growth story will be scripted by a young and new cohort, residing in hitherto unexplored regions of the world. As a corollary, it is clear the choices made by the African continent will form the core of this new narrative.

Africa offers, simultaneously, the world’s most compelling and complex growth story. Home to the youngest and most rapidly urbanising population, Africa is poised to be a significant growth pole. To unleash this human potential, Africa must contend with development challenges that are diverse and wide-ranging. Africa is not a monolith—the continent is an intricate tapestry of 54 nations that are in different phases of development. Even as the world obsesses to discover a silver bullet to respond to multiple challenges, it is clear that solutions to Africa’s future reside within. These solutions cannot be dictated by a small set of trans-Atlantic stakeholders, who often talk at and not with the actors for whom the answers are designed.

Indeed, the old adage of African solutions for African problems has never been truer. And Africa has a development companion, Asia—together the solutions they devise will define the Afro-Asian Century. Indeed, the new models of development and growth that African nations co-create will not only address their own challenges, but also provide a template for other regions of the world as well. The Kigali Global Dialogue will serve as a Rwanda-based global platform to cross-pollinate ideas between established and emerging actors and make available a bouquet of solutions, policies and processes gleaned from around the world to all who seek them. In time, the platform seeks to Chairs’ Note: Unleashing Growth, Development and Human Capital contribute to the global architecture of the future.

The three-day Dialogue will delve into three strands of contemporary local, regional and international governance posers.

First, it will examine the institutions, investments and capacities that are needed to allow the world and the continent to work together. Financial, technological and social solutions tailored for Africa will need regional institutions to work collectively. This is a prerequisite for creating an ‘Africa first’ global proposition that recognises the continent’s centrality in implementing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), combatting climate change, creating jobs and livelihoods and harnessing gender equality. Only by designing effective institutions and devising viable offerings can investments be catalysed in the way that the continent demands them.

Second, it will create a fountainhead for African solutions – an amphitheater that assists the reverse flow of innovations, ideas, and arrangements that will allow stakeholders from this dynamic continent to reimagine and craft a new economic architecture. It seeks to help the global development community shed the binaries of east and west, and north and south to identify and focus on collective solutions for common in socio-economic challenges.

Third, and perhaps most importantly, the dialogue will focus on the pre-conditions necessary for multidimensional growth and development. The dialogue will explore policies that place women at their core; showcase technological tools to expand and scale development solutions; highlight arrangements to re-prioritise financial flows; and essentialise globalisation as a means of value creation. These will form the basis of Africa’s transformations, and consequently, the success of the SDGs.

Accordingly, the Kigali Global Dialogue will be designed around three themes: climate change and sustainable growth; livelihood and human capital; and technology and the Fourth Industrial Revolution. It will curate over thirty conversations on these subjects, bringing together 300 voices from over fifty-five countries, from Africa and the rest of the world.

We the hosts, hope that the Kigali Global Dialogue can emerge as an incubator of solutions in the heart of Africa; as a platform where contesting ideas can flow freely and ultimately shape a new pathway to our common future.

We look forward to hosting you in Kigali, Rwanda.

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