The Africa day seminar was organized as a collaborative effort by Initiatives of Change Norway (IofC Norway), the Africa Centre for Information and Development (ACID), and the Pan African Womens’ Association (PAWA). The seminar intended to address issues of importance to the welfare of Africans in Norway; to promote understanding of the African continent in Norway; and to contribute to growth in political, social and business relations between Norway and Africa. Work towards a larger Africa-focused event in Oslo in the autumn of 2016 was also started.
Forty to 50 people attended. The speakers and moderators included Johan N Hermstad, Director at the Norwegian Council for Africa; Hilde Frafjord Johnson, Diplomat & former head of United Nations’ Mission in the Republic of South Sudan; Eivind Fjeldstad of the Norwegian-African Business Association; Cliff A Moustache of the Nordic Black Theatre; Francis Stevens George, CEO of North Fire Technology and President of Innovation Africa; Kebba Secka of IofC Norway; Regina Adahada of PAWA; Akhenaton Oddvar De Leon, head of the Organization Against Public Discrimination (OMOD); Omar Drammeh of ACID; Baba Abraham Kankani and Wolela Haile of Transcultural Health Information.
Some citations made at the event include:
'Amazing developments are taking place in Africa. Debt has been slashed. The economy is improving. There is trade access. Good leadership is shown in many countries. This is not reported in the media where attention is given to conflict, corruption, bad management, terrorism, migration. Developing good institutions is still a great challenge. The connection between transparency and development needs to be discussed. - My concern is that Middle East conflict has caught the world’s attention and Africa is losing it!'
Hilde Frafjord Johnson
'Norway has given me much but the heart here is often bigger than what you end up doing. You should listen to Africa. My mission over many years has been to bring Africa’s stories and musical instruments to Norway. Africa’s art is ignored... I want to connect Norway and Africa.'
'The African diaspora is very important and often ignored. Diaspora should be regarded a national asset for Africa. We should look for the best in Norway and export it to Africa. We have ignored the knowledge that exists here. Knowledge offers great potential for development.'
Francis S George
'Integration, equality and participation in a multicultural Norway is a prerequisite for society to take advantage of immigrants’ resources and experiences.'
An evaluation of the seminar’s execution and outcomes will now be conducted by the organizers, based upon which the next-steps will be defined.