The Mo Ibrahim Foundation recently hosted the 2023 Ibrahim Governance Weekend (IGW) from the 28th to the 30th of April.

This event gathered African leaders, politicians, thought leaders, the private sector, and civil society representatives to discuss the key role that the continent has the potential to and requires to play in a world confronted with multiplying, cumulative global challenges, be it climate change, pandemics, or conflicts.

The IGW opened with the Leadership Ceremony, awarding in person to former President of Niger, Mahamadou Issoufou, his 2020 Ibrahim Prize medal.

This ceremony offered the opportunity to hear from some of the most prominent voices in global leadership and governance on the challenges and prospects facing African leadership.

The 2023 Ibrahim Forum centred on Global Africa. The sessions discussed Africa’s position in the world, its potential and assets, the competition between state and non-state actors, and the continent’s voice in multilateral architecture.

The forum aimed to address the current barriers to achieving Africa’s potential and the need to amend the representativity and efficiency of the current multilateral system.

Throughout the three days, the ongoing conflict in Sudan featured heavily in various discussions, with public interventions from the likes of Abdalla Hamdok, former Prime Minister of Sudan, Amina Mohammed, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the African Union Commission, and Comfort Ero, President and CEO of the International Crisis Group.

In a public one-to-one conversation, Abdalla Hamdok and Mo Ibrahim discussed Sudan’s historic roots of instability and the conditions and prospects of solving the current crisis.

To conclude the Forum, Mo held another one-to-one conversation, this time with H.E. William Ruto, President of Kenya, around the ongoing climate change debate, including the value of creating an efficient carbon market, as well as discussing reforms to the multilateral architecture and processes, such as removing the currently punitive assessment of African risk. They also discussed Kenya’s current political and economic situation and prospects.

The Forum was followed by a public concert on Saturday evening featuring some of the biggest names in African music, including Nyashinski, Femi One, Otile Brown, and Youssou N’Dour.

Throughout the course of the three days, there were also a series of parallel events discussing key African challenges. Ahead of the Africa Climate Summit, to be hosted by Kenya between 4-6 September 2023, a specific focus was given to the climate topic, with a meeting of the Climate Overshoot Commission, and the launch of the Carbon Market Working Group by the Africa Europe Foundation, which was co-founded in 2020 by the Mo Ibrahim Foundation.

The IGW also sought to elevate the voices of the youth representatives, by systematically including them in all central debates during the weekend.

The Foundation’s Now Generation Network also led a series of parallel events, including an In Conversation With… Hanan Morsy, Deputy Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, to discuss the need for debt restructuring and reform of the financial multilateral system.

The event featured notable quotes from speakers like Mo Ibrahim, Founder and Chair of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, who said:

As we speak, the world is changing around us. I think everybody knows that. All of the previous assumptions are being broken. We are seeing different powers rising, tensions, and camps being formed – so where exactly is Africa’s place here? Europe, and the rest of the world too, should not underestimate Africa, talk down to Africa or give instructions to Africa – Don’t take Africa for granted!

Several other notable figures shared their perspectives including the Vice-President of Nigeria who stressed the importance of a coordinated approach towards innovation on the continent.

The Chairperson of the African Union Commission highlighted the immeasurable potential of Africa’s growing population and youth.

Africa’s population will more than double by 2100, its youth will be half of the world’s youth. Africa, Latin America and Europe will lose about 490 million people in the same period. The result is an immeasurable potential for initiative, creativity and productive growth in all areas of human assets… This will be Africa’s century.

– H.E. Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the African Union Commission

Meanwhile, the former Prime Minister of Sudan emphasized the need for political compromise for the interests of the country and the former President of Niger emphasized the importance of pan-Africanism in uniting the continent.