The African Union African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), in collaboration with the University of Cape Town (UCT) and the Nelson Mandela School of Public Governance (NMS) will host a Public Symposium on the role of young African leaders in Pan-Africanism and Regional Integration on the 10th May 2019 in Cape Town, South Africa. The symposium will focus on the challenges and opportunities for transformation in Africa, including topical issues relating to the idea of one-ness and working towards African Shared Values. Discussions will focus on themes relating to Nationalism and PanAfrican Citizenry, African Integration and the Free Movement of People, as well as Youth and Business Innovation in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.


Theme: Interrogating the Role of Young Leaders in Pan-Africanism and Regional Integration

Objective: To hold a public dialogue designed to engage audiences on the challenges & opportunities facing the African Continent, regarding Pan-Africanism, Regional Integration and National Identity.


a) To contribute towards an understanding of the factors relating to the promotion of Pan-Africanism and Regional Integration;

b) To facilitate ideological convergence among academics and practitioners on governance discourse as it relates to identity politics, Pan-Africanism, regional integration, nationalism and xenophobia.

Session Themes

1. Nationalism and Pan-African Citizenry The terms nationalism, sovereignty and citizenry are associated with ideals of identity, autonomy as well as the cultural and socio-political drivers that guide people’s behavior within a nation or a state. National identity is often thought to be based on shared values, common origins and history, culture and ethnicity. Active nationalism can be two-fold; relating to activism in pursuit of political and economic freedoms or relating to violence against migrants in the name of nationalism. This session will explore questions of what qualifies as common identity and how this may be positively driven by ideas of having a common future. It posits, through dialogue, that Nationalism is pertinent to the way different people from different cultures can trust one another within and between countries, to integrate with one another and form a common identity.

Concepts of multi-national unification such as having a ‘United States of Africa’, have long been proposed as ways of implementing a common identity across the continent of Africa. This sentiment was held by one of Africa’s most prominent Statesmen, Julius Nyerere, who noted that “African Nationalism is meaningless, dangerous, anachronistic, if it is not, at the same time, pan-Africanism”. The launch of the Pan African Passport at the African Union Summit in Kigali, Rwanda in July 2016 promoted goals of the continent becoming ‘one Africa’, as well as being a catalyst for African countries to adopt policies that allow for visa-free entry. In addition to issues of citizenry, this session will also delve into what it means to be an African Citizen in a global community.

2. African integration and the Free Movement of People In recent history, the world has become globalized, leading to increased integration, interconnectedness and unification in political, economic and social sectors. Similarly, African people are increasingly integrating within and between countries. Progress has been made with African policies and instruments such as implementation of visa-free access to all 54 member nations of the African Union, or the African Union’s Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA), which aims to ‘create a single continental market for goods and services, with free movement of business persons and
investments’, which facilitate integration in Africa. These efforts are, however, stifled by hostility towards immigrants and foreign nationals in different countries. This theme will focus on discussions regarding the promotion of African integration and possible steps towards achieving an integrated Africa.

Noting the African Union (AU) theme of the year 2019 is “Refugees, Returnees and Internally Displaced Persons: Towards durable solutions to Forced Displacement in Africa’’, this session unpacks contemporary issues relating to the free movement of people between neighboring countries and across the African Continent, as well as the opportunities and challenges that these people face. Migration is a developmental issue, as the movement of people seeking better quality of life has implications for the economic growth of the home and host countries. The session will interrogate the origins and political economy influences of the notion of ‘xenophobia’, a word that did not exist before Rutherford B. Hayes was president of the United States4. The session will debate the narratives of the state formation in Africa, the political nation, nationalism and xenophobia. Thus, the symposium will interrogate the notion of xenophobia, its construction and the possibility of it as a political ploy for the ‘New Partitioning of Africa’. It is envisaged that the session will generate actionable recommendations on emigration and immigration, free movement of persons (human capital) and development of national and regional economies.

3. Youth leadership in Business Innovation and the Fourth Industrial Revolution Africa has the highest population of young people in the world, which is predicted to increase to 1.3 billion youth by 20305. Therefore, the most economically viable population in the world will increasingly be in Africa, and this demographic dividend will have to be enhanced by empowering the youth, as well as empowering women who make up over fifty percent of Africa’s population.

The session will discuss the measures that may be put in place to ensure that young people are supported through resource-allocation, education, capacity development and training towards the attainment of suitable skills-set in this current Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) and beyond. The skills complement will have to consider, areas of 3D printing, artificial intelligence, robotics, big data and/or the internet of things as they apply to the Africa of today and the near future. Furthermore, this session explores Africa’s readiness for the 4IR and how businesses, industry and governments can leapfrog to a more future-ready continent through collaboration and technological innovation.

The session seeks to interrogate the political economy aspects of youth leadership in business innovation and the Fourth Industrial Revolution, on the Continent.

DELEGATES AND PARTICIPANTS Academics and Practitioners; UCT Alumni; African Union (AU) Institutions in South Africa; the student community (representatives from Universities, Schools of Governance and public policy in and around South Africa); Civil Society Organizations; the UN System in South Africa and members of the public and media.