Foreign Policy Blogs

Ambassador Andrew Young Brings African Presidents and Heads of State to Atlanta, Georgia

African Presidents head to Atlanta for the Africa Policy Forum organized by Ambassador Andrew Young and the Leon H. Sullivan Foundation ( Titled “the Africa Policy Forum: A Vision for the 21st Century,” the forum will take place on September 24-28, 2010, in Atlanta, Georgia. One of the largest gatherings of its kind, the September forum will provide an opportunity for African Presidents and Heads of State to engage and dialogue with President Obama and American business executives eying to do business in Africa. A statement from Hope Masters, President and CEO of the Leon H. Sullivan Foundation, reads as follows: While in Atlanta, we will celebrate the African Diaspora through art, culture, investment and innovation while exploring ways to build wealth and capital.” Conference highlights will include:

  • an African Ancestry Reveal announcement for Martin L. King III and other exciting entertainment including recording artist KEM
  • a women’s luncheon
  • critical education, health and economic opportunities
  • forums featuring several African Presidents and Heads of State and Obama administration members
  • celebrities and live cultural events
  • sports related events
  • a film festival featuring top films from Africa
  • a formal announcement on dates and location on the African continent for the 2011 Leon H. Sullivan Summit

I have nothing but admiration for Ambassador Andrew Young, and the Leon H. Sullivan Foundation, but this forum does nothing but add to the pompous style that African Heads of State gatherings are known for. Like many ordinary Africans throughout the continent, I have become worried about the terms “summit/workshop/conference” because they seem to have lost their respective meanings when it comes to Africa. Whether it’s a global poverty conference on Africa, an SADC economic development summit, or an African union policy forum or workshop on gender sensitivity, these events seem to include nothing but empty rituals characterized by lots of talk and promises. In fact, Africa has become a summit continent, creating hope and optimism that something is being done to address poverty and suffering on the continent. It is not uncommon to find all public service offices closed in Africa because everybody, starting from the minister to the cleaner, is attending a workshop or summit. But for all the continent’s endless workshops/seminars, those who fund and organize them have only achieved little for Africa.

What ordinary Africans want is substance, what is being referred as “back to basics” in my home country Namibia. The point is that Africa must focus on simplicity, and tangible proposals that can improve citizen’s economic conditions on the ground instead of these grandiose, and abstract ideas offered up in the name of change, but with more pomp than progress.



Ndumba J. Kamwanyah

Ndumba Jonnah Kamwanyah, a native of Namibia in Southern Africa, is an independent consultant providing trusted advice and capacity building through training, research, and social impact analysis to customers around the world. Mos recently Ndumba returned from a consulting assignment in Liberia in support of the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL).
In his recent previous life Ndumba taught (as an Adjunct Professor) traditional justice and indigenous African political institutions in sub-Saharan Africa at the Rhode Island College-Anthropology Department.

He is very passionate about democracy development and peace-building, and considers himself as a street researcher interested in the politics of everyday life.
Twitter: NdumbaKamwanyah