African Leaders Convene at Harvard to Discuss the Continent’s Role in the World

April 12, 2018



Contact: Li-Ming Tseng, 617-495-5265,


African Leaders Convene at Harvard to Discuss the Continent’s Role in the World

“Africa’s Leaders Speak” is a unique platform for a lively discussion of Africa’s most pressing issues by some of the continent’s foremost statesmen. Former heads of state from Cape Verde, Ghana, Nigeria, and Tanzania, as well as policymakers, entrepreneurs, academic researchers, and emerging young leaders will gather on April 25 for a closed workshop on transforming Africa in the 21st century, followed by a public forum on the importance of effective leadership in realizing this transformation.

Featured speakers include H.E. Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, former president of the United Republic of Tanzania (2005-2015); H.E. John Agyekum Kufuor, former president of the Republic of Ghana (2001-2009); H.E. Carlos Veiga, former prime minister of the Republic of Cape Verde (1991 – 2000), and H.E. Olusegun Obasanjo, former president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (1999-2007). “Africa’s Leaders Speak” will include commentary from senior policymakers from the African Academy of Sciences, the African Union Commission, the African Development Bank, the Africa Export-Import Bank, and the United Nations Economic Commission on Africa.

The closed workshop will examine the role of agriculture and agribusiness, industry, trade, finance, education and technology, and security and continental integration in sparking dynamic growth on the continent. A public forum that evening, hosted by the Institute of Politics at Harvard Kennedy School, will focus discussion on leadership and good governance.

Professor Emmanuel Akyeampong, the Oppenheimer Faculty Director at the Harvard University Center for African Studies, the host of the symposium, says “the forum provides a platform from which to boldly confront the challenges and celebrate the opportunities on the African continent, and devise innovative and collaborative solutions in response.”

The Harvard University Center for African Studies is a globally recognized, interdisciplinary body committed to broadening knowledge about Africa and engagement with African perspectives through scholarship, collaboration, and dialogue.

This event is made possible through collaboration with the Hutchins Center for African and African American Studies and the Center for Public Leadership at Harvard Kennedy School.


Media note:

The April 25 workshop will be closed to media coverage, but a press briefing will be held at the Harvard University Center for African Studies on April 25th in the morning. For media credential applications, please contact Li-Ming Tseng, Communications Officer at the Center for African Studies: For more event information, visit:

The Africa’s Leaders Speak Public Forum will begin at 6 p.m. at the John F. Kennedy, Jr. Forum at Harvard Kennedy School. It will be open to the public and media coverage. It will be streamed live on the Institute of Politics website: For media inquiries at the Forum event, please contact the Kennedy School Communications Office at 617-495-1115. 


Follow us on Twitter for live tweets: @AfricaHarvard, #AfricasLeadersSpeak