African Crossroads is a community of future-oriented African thinkers and doers initiated and organized by Hivos. They gather every year to reflect critically on the most pioneering entrepreneurial, scientific, artistic, and technological developments anchored in African intellectual and technological traditions. African Crossroads is a space where African collective intelligence and creativity meet to positively shape the future of the continent.
The pandemic has clearly revealed that it is community that makes people stronger and keeps them going.
Since 2018, more than 250 participants have attended, first in Marrakech, Morocco (2018), then in Mombasa, Kenya (2019). They shared knowledge and skills, inspired others through innovations, art installations, and novel approaches. They reflected on pressing issues challenging the continent and worked together before and after the events. This year, however, as the world is experiencing unprecedented turmoil and a global pandemic, it is more important than ever to secure a space — virtual and physical, individual and collective — for collaboration, exchange, support, and united action.
So, what can you expect from the 2020 edition of African Crossroads?
More community changers for greater impact
The outbreak of Covid-19 has made this a very challenging year for people everywhere. It has also been a turning point for many individuals, companies and organizations that had to adapt and rethink their missions, redefine their strategies and shift directions.
African Crossroads has not been spared. But the pandemic has clearly revealed that it is community — collective actions and a sense of united effort — that makes people stronger and keeps them going. So instead of an in-person meeting in October, as was planned for the third edition, the community started meeting online to discuss its future within the future of Africa as they envision it. These regular and more frequent virtual meetings have allowed the participants to learn from each other’s experiences with Covid-19, to stay connected, and to infuse the new platform they created with hope, inspiration, and action. And now, from Cape Town to Cairo, from Addis Ababa to Freetown, a larger movement is taking shape.
New members and new resources
Up until now, these online gatherings were open exclusively to members of the African Crossroads community. However, acknowledging the importance of a pan-African network that brings together so much diversity in geography (more than 35 African countries), and industries (creative, technology and innovation, academia, politics, business, and others), the African Crossroads community is preparing to open up its network to new members across Africa.
This year, collaboration grants and a Community Resilience Fund have also been created to support collective, cross-country projects and help community members in difficulty. A variety of inspiring and exciting projects have emerged. Like a social enterprise providing online sewing workshops and business management training for women with in Egypt, a monetized platform collecting screening rights for performing artists in Zimbabwe, and new e-marketplace technology to help farmers in Sierra Leone and Tunisia promote and market their products.
African Crossroads 2020: a hybrid two-day cocktail that will make you move
The events and activities of the African Crossroads community are based on the wishes and needs of its members. A similar approach is being used for the 2020 online gatherings, during which members will be hosting sessions, showcasing their work, and sharing opportunities with other participants.
Please have a look at the program of the two-day hybrid edition of African Crossroads: Reimagining the Pan-African Dream on December 10 and 11. From augmented reality experiences to tech workshops, from exploring the sounds of independence to a hub manager meetup; including performances of e.g. Thomas Mapfumo aka the Lion of Zimbabwe. This program truly reflects the diversity of African Crossroads’ beautiful network of makers, doers and thinkers.