Tshimong Director, Bongani Masilela recently hosted the Africa Lead Conference 2017, organized by Wits Development and Leadership Unit in partnership with the Pan African Parliament. The conference was held at Wits University on 12 – 13 September 2017; and addressed the broader, societal discussion about the need to give young people a voice in matters of governance, business and conflict-resolution.
Masilela chaired three panel discussions throughout the duration of the conference. The first was titled, ‘The New Age of African Leadership.’ Siting on the panel was the CEO of the Nelson Mandela Foundation, Sello Hatang; former African Union Deputy Chief of Staff, Febe Potgieter-Gqubule; and two youth business representatives. The discussion focused on how Africans, both young and old, need to re-conceptualize and ‘own’ the concepts of accountability and transparency in order to improve public sector institutions.
The second panel discussion chaired by Masilela was called ‘Youth Driving Innovation – Unemployment & Unskilled Labour. Is Entrepreneurship the answer?’ Economic growth is a challenge for most African countries, and has led to many people asking if entrepreneurship is the answer to creating jobs and lifting hundreds out of poverty. Many of the panellists, including Tech entrepreneur, Velani Mboweni and Deputy Finance Clerk at the Pan African Parliament, Yusupha Jobe agreed that entrepreneurship can help us achieve rapid economic development. And that education can be used as a tool to teach entrepreneurial thinking.
Lastly, Masilela chaired the panel discussion on, “African Solutions to African Problems,” hosted by the Thabo Mbeki Foundation. The discussion centred on conflict-resolution, with a particular focus on the South Sudanese conflict, and how it poses a unique opportunity for the African Union to intervene. Panellists included Spokesperson for former President Thabo Mbeki, Mukoni Ratshitanga; Clement Mavungu from the Pan-African Parliament; and Ottilia Maunganidza from the Institute for Security Studies. It was refreshing to hear the opinions of research experts, the Pan-African Parliament, and the Thabo Mbeki Foundation.