On November 20, 2014, Africa Agenda and World Denver Young Professionals organized a dinner dialogue: Towards a Strong U.S.-Africa Engagement: Bringing the U.S.-Africa Summit to Colorado.
The event brought together about 100 Africa-oriented professionals and activists to consider how we can strengthen cooperation and collaboration between Americans and people across the African continent.
Africa Agenda and World Denver Young Professionals would like to thank the speakers, table captains, organizing committee, and volunteers that contributed their time and enthusiasm to the success of the event. Their names are listed at the end of this report.
One of the major outcomes of the event was the strengthening of links and knowledge among the loose community of Africans, social and private organizations, and individuals in Colorado. As a result, many of the participants called for the need to continue this dialogue on a regular basis. From talking about the opening of the Afrikmall, which will be bringing African products to the community, to the over 20 organizations that described a wide variety of engagement with countries across Africa, the event showed that Colorado boasts a vibrant and growing Africa-oriented community.
The event was a direct response to the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, organized by the Obama administration in August of the same year. That Summit brought together more than 50 Heads of State and Governments from the African continent to Washington D.C., to meet with members of the administration, members of Congress, political and business leaders, and the African Diaspora to further relations with Africa.
Held at the Posner Center, the Colorado event offered an opportunity to build on the outcomes from Washington, hear from key speakers, and personally engage with the key topics of interest in our community. With few opportunities to meet in a single forum, the event helped build new connections and knowledge about Africa.
The master of ceremonies, A. Scott DuPree, opened the event, over catered Ethiopian cuisine from Konjo Ethiopian Restaurant, with remarks from Africa Agenda founder George A. Bamu and World Denver Young Professional’s Board Member Andy Astuno. Opening speakers were: Dr. Luka Powanga (Organizer of the annual Africa Energy Conference), Abdul Sesay (Denver Office of Economic Development and International Trade, representing Mayor Michael Hancock), Denver Councilman Albus Brooks, Denver Nairobi Sister Cities Committee chairman, Joseph Odhiambo, Posner Center for International Development Executive Director, Doug Vilsack, Internet Society Policy Advisor, Karen Mulberry and Corbina Lartson, CEO of Afrikmall. See the video highlight of selected speaker remarks.
Participants at 10 tables then began intensive table discussions facilitated by professionals with significant experience in the key questions on the role of women and girls, enhancing economic cooperation, improving health, media information and technology, resilience and climate change, developing power and energy, and supporting civil society, mirroring similar topics from the Washington D.C. Summit.
This summary report highlights three key insights from the tables drawn from the wide-ranging and rich discussions. These observations provide a glimpse of the interests and perspectives of the Colorado community. In this way, this report is a snapshot and only gives a sense of spontaneous energy, creativity, and learning that took place in November. We hope that it can, however, spark others to get engaged.
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Women and Girls
How do we ensure that women’s voices are heard and that there is representation from women in future summits? Insights:
Media, Information and Technology
Is net neutrality a concern for Africa? Yes. Global Internet policy project is an example. Insights:
How can we improve US/Africa cooperation in global health and development – Ebola, HIV-AIDS, Malaria, and other health issues? Insights:
Civil Society Collaboration
How do we build effective collaboration through non-profits and grassroots organizations? Insights:
What form do power and energy resources take in Africa – how to develop them responsibly? Table Insights:
Climate Change and other issues of resilience
“Resilience?” What is the definition with respect to climate change? Insights:
We offer special thanks to the following organizations and volunteers who contributed an enormous amount of their time and generosity to make the event possible: World Denver Young Professionals, Africa Agenda, African Leadership Group.