African Influencers For Development 



Solutions For A New Africa

‘Hekima’ means wisdom in Swahili, and this series of web-based dialogues engages Africa’s leading thinkers from the world of academia, politics, business, arts and sports, and science and technology to explore responses to the socio-economic impact of COVID-19 on Africa. It explores new ideas and solutions that could influence more people-centric policies to alleviate the impact of the pandemic on African societies and support sustainable development on the continent. Hekima is a product of the African Influencers for Development (AI4Dev), UNDP’s partnership initiative which brings together African leaders in business, academics and the arts to co-discover and co-implement innovative development solutions towards the continent’s progress.

The aim of the Hekima Series is to create a platform for robust dialogue and thought leadership on issues relating to African Development with a particular emphasis on post-Covid recovery and resilience across the continent. It serves as a conduit for African ideas and solutions from some of the continent’s leading thinkers to filter through to development actors and citizens on the ground. 

Hekima brings together some of Africa’s deepest thinkers with UNDP development specialists to craft the seeds of fresh solutions to the severe challenges Covid-19 is bringing with it. COVID-19 has taken many lives and caused significant economic damage across sub-Saharan Africa. The pandemic is laying bare the limits of infrastructure in many African countries, exposing weak governance structures, the fragility of the social, economic and healthcare systems and the precariousness of labour markets in Africa. As Africa tackles this unprecedented crisis deepens, the Hekima Series creates a space to integrate views from the continent as we explore the pertinent question:: “How do we create a more equitable, resilient and just Africa after Covid-19?”


In the first edition of the Hekima Series, Nobel Laureate Professor Wole Soyinka shared his thoughts on a range of transformational solutions for a new Africa. The central theme was a call to focus on shared humanity as a tenet to achieving social, economic and political progress in Africa.


COVID-19 is a brute. It breaks up communities.

Prof. Wole Soyinka

For the second edition of the Hekima Series we welcome the former president of Liberia and the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Her Excellency Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. As the first woman ever to be elected as Head of State of an African nation, ‘Ma Ellen’ as she is so fondly called, has inspired generations of young people across the world. Her fortitude and ability to heal and rebuild her damaged nation, her handling of the Ebola crisis, and her championing of women’s equality and opportunities have been lauded globally.

Can we do better? Can Africa do better? Yes. It must. We must truly desire to do better.”            

H.E. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

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