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Session: Deconstructing Development - Critical Gaze on African Futures

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This talk would be led by three International Development Professionals from the African diaspora who are currently based in Toronto: Asia Clarke, Christina Muia and Ikem Opara. We are graduate students of OCAD University’s Strategic Foresight and Innovation program who bring a diversity of professional and lived experiences in social and economic development spanning from non-profits, foundations and the United Nations. This talk will provide a critical look at deconstructing dominant narratives in development, allowing for ‘beneficiary’ narratives to be challenged and for decolonization to begin happening.

This talk seeks to uncover how current changes in geo-political relationships between continental African countries, Africans in the diaspora and the West are impacting the lives of everyday Africans. By drawing from our respective research fields, we look at the macro- and micro-economic policies which have led to the uneven development of African countries. We believe that the voices of African citizens, particularly African youth are crucial in framing future approaches to development in the continent. We will explore our experiences in the aforementioned topics, and ultimately present examples of development initiatives on the horizon that we feel are promising, inclusive, ethical, and sustainable.

Presenters

Christina Muia (she/her)

Consultant & Futurist

From her early years in Kenya to her young adulthood in Canada, Christina Muia has been passionate about poverty alleviation. This has led her to work with the United Nations and several international non-profits in Tanzania, Rwanda, Djibouti and Italy on diverse international development projects. Christina has designed and led a variety of futures sessions including ‘Futures of Youth Sustainable Livelihoods in Africa’.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TinahMwelu

Asia Clarke (she/her)

Foresight Strategist

Asia Clarke is an international development professional, consultant, strategist and artist who is passionate about re-envisioning pan-African diaspora futures. Asia has been a leader in economic empowerment international development projects professionally for the past 7 years in Canada, Dominica, Trinidad, eSwatini and Ghana.

Instagram: https://instagram.com/wild_moon

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/wm-asia-clarke/

Ikem Opara (he/him)

Strategist & Capacity Builder

Ikem Opara has spent the last 20 years of his career designing and building opportunities that enable communities around the world to shape their own futures. Working with public and private sector partners in Canada, Tanzania, Kenya and Cuba, Ikem has used his ability to listen, learn and educate to build relationships and strengthen connections across national, linguistic, cultural and other borders.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ikemopara