The Festival, organised by Nation Media Group (NMG), brings together various stakeholders and leaders led by Rwandan President Paul Kagame, Democratic Republic of Congo President Felix Tshisekedi, and African Union Infrastructure Envoy Raila Odinga, among other dignitaries.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Nation Media Group Board Chairman Dr. Wilfred Kiboro said the festival is being held in Rwanda because the country represents the possibilities that societies everywhere in Africa, particularly those with less painful history, can achieve.
“We are celebrating 60 years as Nation Media Group and with this in mind; we thought it would be good for the continent to have a conversation about its future. That’s why we are here today,” Dr. Kiboro said.
For the next 60 years in Africa, it is noted, these will be the people shaping the continent.
The festival allows connections to this valuable cast of players and gives institutions and businesses a great opportunity to hitch their wagon to the coming African Century.
After the launch in Kigali, the Kusi Ideas Festival will be held in different African cities annually in the years to come.
The name Kusi is coined from one of a regular pattern of the monsoon winds in the Indian Ocean which allowed for traders to plan their trade routes south and north along the East African coast.
The Kusi (southerly) wind, a mainly southerly wind blowing for approximately six months from April to mid-September, allowed traders to head up north along the coast.
It is noted that beyond trade, over the centuries, Kusi and other trade winds made possible cultural, intellectual, and technological exchanges, and considerably shaped the history of the nations on the east side of Africa, its hinterland, and the wider Indian Ocean rim.
The organizers of the festival observe that the world’s future, in that sense is very African, and it is a future that’s both exciting and frightening providing a precious platform to create and sell solutions and build immense wealth, “but also very punishing if we fail.”