Africa Dialogue Series 2021

Saturday, 01 May 2021 - 8:00am to Monday, 31 May 2021 - 5:00pm

Theme: "Cultural identity and ownership: reshaping mindsets"



The 2021 edition of the Africa Dialogue Series (ADS), the Office of the Special Adviser on Africa (OSAA)’s flagship event, will take place in May, with daily events throughout the month, which is also Africa month, and will be a celebration of the continent’s identity, culture, history and achievements. It will also bring together key stakeholders to discuss challenges and opportunities for Africa. 

This year’s ADS theme is “Cultural identity and ownership: reshaping mindsets.” 

It is anchored in the African Union’s theme for the year: “Arts, Culture and Heritage: Levers for Building the Africa We Want.” 

OSAA, as part of its mandate to coordinate global advocacy in support of Africa’s development, is approaching the theme primarily from a sustainable development perspective. To this end, an exciting line up of activities has been prepared for May culminating in a three-day public policy forum focused on discussions among policy makers, researchers, civil society representatives, academics, representatives from the AU and UN entities and other stakeholders.

In view of the broad theme, ADS discussions and activities have been organized around three sub-themes, namely: 1. Sustainable peace for development: factoring in history; 2. Harnessing Culture and Heritage for economic transformation; and 3. Human Capital: culture and heritage unleashing the potential.

Showcasing innovations that emanated from Africa in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, documentary films about the continent’s rich history and cultural heritage, virtual art exhibitions, and engaging conversations with African academics, artists and film makers are among some of the exciting activities in store for the first three weeks of the month. The programme will also include twitter chats with youth influencers and music from across the continent. 

All the conversations and exchanges scheduled for the first three weeks of May will feed into the three-day public policy forum during the last week of the month, which will be organized around plenary meetings at a political level thereby contributing towards influencing policy. The forum will allow for in-depth exchanges and debates aimed at producing forward looking and implementable ideas and recommendations that will contribute towards the continent’s development. 

The ADS and AU themes are anchored in Aspiration 5 of Agenda 2063, which envisions an Africa with a strong cultural identity, common heritage, shared values and ethics. 

Launched in 2018, the ADS is an interactive platform for policy and decision makers, civil society, experts and academics to discuss and debate about challenges and opportunities for Africa. Over time, the ADS has become an important instrument for implementing OSAA’s advocacy mandate. To ensure that the event echoes the priorities of the African Union and African Member States, each year’s edition of the ADS focuses on the theme that the African Union adopts for the year. This way, it contributes to and enhances the visibility of the AU’s efforts and provides a platform to promote innovative ideas and recommendations related to each year’s theme.

This year’s broad and inclusive ADS activities provide an opportunity to increase the participation of a cross-section of people in discussions about the continent.