The African Leadership Forum (ALF) was conceived of as a space for Africa’s eminent elders to interact with current and future leaders around the strategic challenges facing the continent. The dialogues are to comprehend the leadership issues that are behind the implementation of solutions to Africa’s sustainable development challenges, and that rarely find space for reflection and engagement. The Forum draws upon the experiences and insights of former Heads of State to guide decision-makers through the trials and tribulations of leading change on the continent. ALF has been organised by the Office of the Former President and UONGOZI Institute, and in collaboration with the Thabo Mbeki Foundation for the 2017 edition.

2018 will mark the fifth ALF and an opportunity to reflect on the progress of the Forum. To-date, ALF has been held annually since 2014 covering:

  • ‘Meeting the challenges of Africa’s transformation’ (2014)
  • ‘Moving towards an Integrated Africa: What needs to be done?’ (2015)
  • ‘Enabling African Businesses to Transform the Continent’ (2016)
  • ‘Peace and Security for an Integrated, United, and Sustainable Africa’ (2017)

This year’s ALF will be convened in Kigali, Rwanda on 2nd & 03rd August, 2018 by H.E. Benjamin Mkapa, former President of the United Republic of Tanzania. The keynote address on “Financing Africa’s Transformation for Sustainable Development” will be delivered by H.E. Paul Kagame, President of the Republic of Rwanda.

Rationale

Despite significant progress made on the economic front, African policy makers still face a significant challenge in mobilizing resources to finance development. Public domestic resources have increased thanks to a number of factors (including debt relief, improvement in revenue collection, gains from the commodity price boom, growth in strategic sectors, and fledgling industrialisation), however, tax mobilization remains low in spite of significant efforts and recent reforms in many countries. Official Development Assistance (ODA), private capital flows (including Foreign Direct Investment and loans), and remittances from diaspora communities must all be marshalled to plug various financing gaps but need to both mobilised and managed carefully. In essence, Africa requires more, and better, financing. However, given the ambitious aspirations at national, regional, and the continental levels, are Africans ready to take on increased responsibility for financing their transformation?

Objectives

The Forum will engage high-level decision-makers and people of influence to deliberate the prospect of increased, improved, and effective financing for Africa’s transformation. The three objectives are:

  1. To understand the current and emerging context for financing Africa’s development;
  2. To share successes and failures in national, regional, and continental attempts to address specific financing challenges;
  3. To provide recommendations for critical areas where interventions will lead to unlocking increased financing for Africa’s development.

ALF 2018 will be arranged over a day and a half period with an open plenary before subsequent specific subtopics, which will enable participants to focus on key strategic issues to meet the overall challenge posed by the Forum.