The Kisumu County Government has signed a partnership agreement with the Nation Media Group to support the upcoming Kusi Ideas Festival scheduled for December 8 and 9 in Kigali, Rwanda.
The festival, which is part of the Nation Media Group's 60th anniversary celebrations, will bring together influential African leaders, scholars, entrepreneurs and innovators to discuss important issues facing the continent such as climate change, human security, free movement of goods and people in the continent, media and democracy, sports and culture.
The festival is modelled on Kusi, the southerly trade winds that blows over the Indian Ocean between April to mid-September, and which enabled trade in the early centuries up north along the east African coast and between Asia and Africa.
Kisumu Governor Anyang Nyong'o said the partnership will help the county prepare better as it plans to host the 9th edition of the African Cities Summit in November 2021.
Prof Nyong'o said the festival will also provide a platform to discuss the economy of the East Africa region.
Kisumu is at the heart of ongoing plans to revive the Kisumu Port that is expected to spur economic activity in the county and also enable Kenya to play a central role in trade affairs of the East African Community, especially with the planned incorporation of the Democratic Republic of Congo in the EAC member countries.
"When a good idea that brings change comes, great minds must support it," Prof Nyong'o said.
Keynote speakers at the Kusi festival will include among others Rwandan President Paul Kagame, Prof Nyong'o, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development Secretary General Mukhisa Kituyi, Morocco's Minister for Environment Aziz Rabaah, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa executive director Vera Songwe and AU High Representative for Infrastructure Development in Africa Raila Odinga.
Others are Tanzania's former Minister for Environment Affairs January Makamba and former executive secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa Carlos Lopes.
The Nation Media Group (NMG) launched the Kusi Ideas Festival to begin building a pan-African Ideas transaction market to capitalise on the opportunities and innovations available to Africa to win in the 21st Century.
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 NMG Group Chief Executive Officer, Stephen Gitagama, said the Group was excited to partner with Kisumu County during the 60th anniversary celebrations.
"We have received overwhelming interest in the Kusi Ideas Festival from all parts of the continent and interested parties should make early bookings to avoid a last minute rush," he said.
The festival will examine the ideas and actions Africa must take to avoid a heavy cli-mate change penalty; like climate change research, the pivot to renewable energy, and a range of actions to shift to low-carbon economies in the decades ahead.
Movement towards a borderless Africa will also be on the table, to examine the possibility of unfettered movement of people, goods and services in the continent. This also includes how the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) and other regional blocs are likely to play out.