Musa Sherif is known for asking sharp questions, having a pan-African vision, and an undying desire to see a more united Africa. If you ask him which country he comes from, the likely answer will be “I’m African”, however, he is from Liberia. Africa is his subject of preference. He once asked, “Isn’t it insulting that someone outside the continent of Africa, will come all the way here to solve African problems?” And this is why later, as an alumnus of the African Leadership University (ALU) with first-class honors in Global Challenges, together with former students, he decided to establish the Africa Policy and Futures Forum (APF). Co-founders of APF, Musa Sherif “It is a Kigali-based young generation think-tank that facilitates critical, evidence-based, and non-ideological dialogues on the state of Africa,” he says. Sherif, the executive director, when asked how the idea came about, says it is an extension of a students’ club he was part of back in school. “I was part of Kupambana Afrika, a Pan-African organisation that aims at empowering African youth by providing skills, community engagement, and consciousness of a positive self-image on the continent. With my colleagues, we didn’t want it to end by the time we were done with school.” His team is rather diverse, with youth from Rwanda, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Liberia, and other places from the eastern, western, northern, southern, and central Africa. “I also think it is a privilege we had, having studied at ALU, that other youth from the continent were not benefiting from,” shares Ansumana Konneh, co-founder and Director of Research and Strategy. Ansumana Konneh “We want to engage all the youth from all over Africa. We want to establish a platform where African youth will conduct conversations around Africa’s grand challenges and also provide solutions themselves, in a way that reflects African reality,” Sherif says. When asked what African reality is, he says that it is different from what is portrayed. “Africa is not just about tragedies, challenges, and problems. Neither is Africa good or excelling in everything. There are both sides of the story and we want people to know them equally. We want mostly the youth to understand that it is up to us to change the narrative, portray Africa as it is, and make it better. “Rwanda inspired us. It is not picture-perfect surely, but Rwanda didn’t wallow in self-pity or cry to the rest of the world. Rwanda tried and it is still trying. It shows us that it is possible to do the same for other African countries as well. “It is up to the youth, specifically, to try harder because Africa is the youngest continent, which means we have the youngest workforce. We can use that to our advantage,” Konneh adds. Their initiative is divided into three categories. The ‘Fate of Africa’ dialogue where discussions will be conducted in form of panel discussions. The ‘Journal of African Challenges’ where they will be sharing the writings of different participants through articles, poems, and so on. Also, ‘Podcasts’ with experts in different fields to meditate on the present and the future of Africa. There are going to be monthly programmes, ‘Question of the Month’, the best response will receive a gift in a book. The book is one written by an African author that deals with African predicaments, be it social, fictional, political, or economic. They will also run other programmes which include fellowships, seminars, and conferences on pressing socio-economic issues that exist in Africa. Sherif affirms that it is going to be realised through partnerships and sponsorships, only by African institutions and sources. “We are not politicians or activists, just youth who want to take part in decision-making of our continent’s future,” Sherif says. “Our message to the youth is that they should take pride in being African, be accountable for African problems, and also unleash the potential they have. We should join hands, raise issues and recognise Africa’s progress together” he says.