A cross-section of guests and participants with some African-American student dancers representing various African countries
A cross-section of guests and participants with some African-American student dancers representing various African countries

Time to change outmoded narratives about Africa — BIDEC

The time has come for outdated narratives about Africa to be revised, the President of the Bureau for International Development, Exchanges and Commerce (BIDEC), Stephen Selasie Asuo, has said.


He said Africa had resurged from its past deemed ugly and it was important the positive progress being made become the focal image of the new Africa.

To buttress his point, he cited examples such as reconstruction efforts in Liberia, progress in Rwanda, democracy in Ghana and the global dominance of Afrobeat music to emphasise that Africa was undergoing a social resurgence and a flourishing renaissance period which needed to be highlighted to the global community.

“This updated narrative celebrates countless unheralded heroes, leaders and cultural icons, encapsulating the theme of Africa Rising and the Black Renaissance,” he added.

He said this during the Black History Festival held at the Columbus Marriott Airport Hotel in the US state of Ohio from February 22 to 24 2024. 


It was on the theme "The Africa We Want in a Global Setup – Rebuilding Trans-Atlantic Trade Ties for the Socio-economic and Cultural Advancement of the Peoples of Africa and the Americas."

The festival, championed by BIDEC, in collaboration with local and foreign partners, brought people of African descent from across the globe together to strengthen ties and foster collaboration among attendees as a reflection of the festival’s commitment to inclusivity and diversity.

It facilitated Africa-America bilateral partnerships involving governments, the private sector and civil society from America, the Caribbean and Africa under the auspices of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) and the African Union Mission to the USA.

The three-day event, focusing on technology, innovation, history, culture and trade, attracted hundreds of delegates, over 25 exhibitors and more than 50 speakers from Ghana, Kenya, South Africa, Nigeria, St. Lucia, Jamaica, Tanzania, Senegal, Mauritania, the USA and the Americas.

It also featured the Black History Makers Awards which recognised outstanding black individuals across various sectors including technology, arts, politics and entrepreneurship. Award categories span diverse fields, with star prize winners emerging from Africa and the Americas.


Before the celebrations, Mr Asuo, who is also the Executive Coordinator of the festival, intimated that the Black History Festival aimed to reinforce historic connections, promote trade and development and celebrate cultural heritage.

He said by facilitating collaboration and dialogue, the festival seeks to set the stage for future partnerships in policy reforms, trade treaties, professional exchanges, tourism and more.

"We are thrilled to host the Black History Festival 2024 in Columbus, Ohio and look forward to welcoming participants from around the world," Mr Asuo said.

"Together, we will celebrate our shared heritage, explore opportunities for collaboration and chart a path toward a brighter future for the African diaspora,” he added.

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