U40 Africa, as a regional U40 Network, is a platform for young cultural actors and experts in cultural diversity issues and cultural policies in Africa.
The mission of U40 Africa is to popularise the principles of the 2005 UNESCO Convention, to sensitise civil society about the benefits of cultural diversity, to advocate for a wider ratification of the Convention, to integrate the principles of the Convention to international discussions and debates on arts and culture as well as the relationship between culture and development.
The goal of U40 Africa is to make cultural diversity an engine of development for Africa and to advocate for the role and voices of young experts in issues of cultural diversity, according to the Convention.
U40 Africa has been initiated on the occassion of the 2009 U40 World Forum in Paris. The eight African experts from seven African countries decided, after having evaluated their participation at the World Forum, to create a regional U40 Network. Just after the creation of “U40 Africa” in Paris, the Department of Arts and Culture of South Africa expressed interest in this innovative concept and proposed to welcome the first official “U40 Africa” meeting as a side event to the 4th World Summit on Arts and Culture (Johannesburg, South Africa, 22-25 September 2009). Young experts from South Africa, Algeria, Botswana, Mauritius, Lesotho, Malawi, Seychelles, Swaziland, and Zimbabwe participated in this meeting on 22 September 2009 in Pretoria to launch U40 Africa.
In October 2011, with the support of The Department of Arts and Culture (DAC) of South Africa and Arterial Network, U40 Africa organized its second meeting in Johannesburg that led to the establishment of a U40 Africa secretariat in Cape Town from January to December 2012 (minutes of the meeting).
A workshop aiming at examining the possibility to re-launch the secretariat in Benin is planned for November 2013.