Africa has and faces challenges that can appear overwhelmingly complex and immutable. So often calls to actions approach this with force, vigour and the banging of drums – “overturn structures”, “rebuild from scratch”, “FIX”. Revolutions are important.

Historically they work (sometimes), but are as likely to cause discontent, to cause a temporary peace while aggression builds up, to patch up the surface while the insides boil. 

Resolution means many things. It means taking a decision to do something, to solve a problem, to be determined while doing so. It also means dealing with granularity and the finest detail possible, and the translation of the abstract into clarity.  

Future Africa began its journey towards co-creating resolutions to important challenges that impact Africans, which will be led by Africans, and have an impact that is globally reaching. This involves identifying specific problems worth working on, in a broad African and global landscape. The process began last week capturing ideas from academics, post docs and PhD students from all faculties in small groups, who worked together to try to pinpoint the most important themes that need research in this context. Six groups of 5-10 people from all faculties of the university, for four days, all operating in a one-hour slice of a think-tank environment, and later providing feedback to the larger group. 

Today, most people in the world are aware of the broad themes that would have emerged. Climate Change, Poverty, Gender, Artificial Intelligence, and a dozen others you, the reader, have in your head as you read this. Importantly though, these words were unpacked and dissected, and then integrated into ideas that brought in new perspectives, such as “learning from Africans living off the grid to construct a more sustainable society”. 

In the end, more than a hundred big ideas were captured, but this is just the beginning. Future Africa will continue this joint exploration with many stakeholders including politicians and policy makers, industry role-players and entrepreneurs, artists and intellectuals, NGOs, and of course local communities. In the end what will emerge will be themes built by all stakeholders that are guaranteed to interest and impact a majority. Research excellence in Africa, for Africa and the world. 

Ultimately, even “Resolution” has a finality that will not apply here. As we approach resolution we will get to an even more exciting phase – evolution.

Interested? Join the evolution at Future Africa.