This might look like the pitch of a great movie made in Hollywood starring African actors, but it isn’t.

On March 21st, the Africa Caucus at Harvard Kennedy School will be in downtown Douala, at the luxurious Sawa Novotel for the “Youth As Solution” conference. Besides the sweet candy and the exotic drinks on the menu, the best to come will certainly be the workshops between young Cameroonians entrepreneurs and leaders from the civil society. Discussions will be about the context and the perspectives of economic and social development in Africa with a focus on Cameroon.

The Africa Caucus at Harvard Kennedy School, is already used to those African’s treks. The Cameroonian edition will involve four members of the association, and will be led by the Cameroonian afro-enthusiastic Jacques Jonathan Nyemb. He brings with him some Harvard students such as John Kidenda from Kenya, Amandine Lobelle from Belgium and Claire Hassoun from Tunisia.


Cradle of leadership

Harvard University is a prominent member of the Ivy League. It is known as a cradle of leadership where seven U.S presidents, and multiple top world leaders and CEOs such as Barack Obama, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Minister of Finance of Nigeria, and Elias Mudzuri, Minister of Energy and Power Development of Zimbabwe, attended classes.

The Africa Caucus at Harvard Kennedy School is one of the 60 clubs, caucuses, organizations and professional interest councils that are run and managed by the Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) student body. HKS is a public policy and public administration school, and one of Havard’s graduate and professional schools.

Staying true to the excellent reputation of Harvard, the Africa Caucus is home to Africans and sympathizers at Harvard Kennedy School. They intend to engage Africa and Afro-enthusiasts at HKS; to elevate Africa’s presence at school and beyond; and to build strong relationship on the long-term with practitioners on the ground and whenever possible, to do something for Africa.

The Africa Caucus at Harvard Kennedy School ensures Africa’s great visibility through events, the Africa Policy Journal, and the annual African Development Conference. Those events are huge opportunities for the association to host African leaders. Great African figures  such as Dr. Donald Kaberuka, Head of the African Development Bank; Mossadeck Bally, CEO of the Azalaï Group; or H.E Ambassador Amina S. Ali, Pemanent Representative of the African Union to the U.S. have participated to previous events.

Dreams for the New Africa

Such meetings are pretty rare enough on the Cameroonian soil to be noticed. The “Youth As Solution” conference is one of the few meetings which brings together the intelligentsia from the African Diaspora and beyond, as well as young local leaders and representatives from well-established companies.

Among those promising young Cameroonians, there will be Arthur Zang, Inventor of Cardiopad; Olivier Madiba, Founder of Kiro’o Games; Olivia Mukam-Wandji founder of Harambe Cameroon or Hiram Iyodi, President of The Cameroonian Youth Synergy (S.J.C) and Jean P. Ketcha, country ambassador of Africa 2.0. Together they will share their views on the incoming New Africa.

The stakes are huge. By 2050, Africa’s population will be the largest of the world with 2.5 billion inhabitants, where the youth already accounts for almost 60% of the population. In addition, the fast growing economies of sub-Saharan countries will be higher than the 5.2% growth seen in 2014.

It is therefore urgent and important to anticipate on these changes. Some questions therefore arise: what is the role of women in these changes? How could education, culture and media tighten it? And how would civil society guide it?

We will have some answers  on March 21st

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Louis Gilbert Bissek.

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