Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane of Cape Town, South Africa addressed the IPS 2010 annual meeting in Madrid with a powerful keynote speech and a conclusion that Afro-optimism must replace Afro-pessimism as Africans themselves face up to and solve the challenges of the continent. The Archbishop is the founder of “African Monitor” an NGO dedicated to bringing African voices for African development. The public seminar on Thursday 25th November was jointly convened and hosted by IPS with AECID, the Spanish Agency for International Co-operation with around 200 journalists, researchers, activists and others in attendance. Francisco Moza Zapatero, the new director of AECID, and Federico Mayor, the Chair of the IPS Board, opened the meeting.
The first panel on “African leadership” was chaired by IPS Africa Director Paula Fray with the participation of Themba James Maseko from the government of South Africa, Cheriff Sy the chairperson of The Africa Editors Forum and Ricardo Martínez of Casa Africa. After a response from award-winning Spanish journalist Javier Bauluz and lively questions from the audience that touched on issues of governance, corruption and migration, the panel concluded with a call to listen to Africa.
Govin Reddy, chair of the IPS Africa board, convened the afternoon panel on “Climate change, agriculture and African food sovereignty” with Khereddine Cahya of Enda Inter-Arabe, Fiona Musana of Greenpeace Africa, Mohamed Béavogui of IFAD and Olivier Longué of Action Against Hunger. With the Cancun climate change COP about to convene and the next COP in Durban, South Africa in 2011 the panel and the subsequent discussion opened by journalist Nicolás Castellano was timely, challenging and thoughtful.
Carmen Moreno, AECID Director for Africa and Mario Lubetkin, Director General of IPS made closing remarks, welcoming the success of the meeting and looking forward to further cooperation between AECID and IPS in 2011. The final event of the seminar was the international launch of the new IPS Africa website, an interactive, multi-media and multi-lingual window on the continent from the IPS Africa network of journalists and editors in more than 40 countries.
Read more about the seminar in this IPS article Africa’s Time Has Come and in these articles in the Spanish press:
On Friday 26th November AECID kindly hosted two further IPS institutional meetings, of the Core Group of donors chaired by the Government of Brazil and the IPS Board of Directors, chaired by Federico Mayor.
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