The African World Heritage Day, proclaimed by the 38th session of UNESCO's General Conference in November 2015, is an opportunity to discuss the future of heritage in Africa and for people all over the world, in particular Africans, to celebrate the continent's unique cultural and natural heritage.

African heritage is at a crossroads. It faces several challenges, the main ones concerning its conservation, promotion and enhancement. To address these challenges, Africa relies on its young professionals actively engaged in various initiatives, poised to make meaningful contributions. 

It is in this context that, ICCROM, through the Youth.Heritage.Africa Programme, in partnership with the ICOMOS Emerging Professionals Working Group for the Africa Region (ICOMOS EPWG Africa), organized a webinar on 5 May on the theme "Heritage and Youth: Climate Action, Entrepreneurship and Digital Technologies." This webinar aimed to demonstrate the active role of young African professionals in the heritage sector in promoting new conservation practices for cultural heritage in the face of the harmful impacts of climate change and in cultivating the spirit of creativity and entrepreneurial and technological innovation for the benefit of heritage.  

The theme of the webinar, was discussed with four young professionals who have distinguished themselves through their various projects:  

  • Scovia Ampumuza, Programme Director at Faraja in Rwanda, presented her initiative to involve local communities in the conservation of Nyungwe National Park, a World Heritage Site. Her work on this site is devoted to promoting resilience to climate change among young people and women. 

  • Ibrahim Tchan is the director and Co-founder of the Tata Somba eco-museum in Benin, the first ecological museum in West Africa, dedicated to preserving the traditional architecture and ancestral skills of the Batammariba. Traditional techniques and vernacular building materials were discussed as part of climate change mitigation and adaptation. 

  • Doria Tounsi, Founder and Managing Director of Shédio Design in Algeria, whose work is helping to shape a future where design, technology and heritage preservation are intertwined.   

  • Efosa Onaghinor, Co-founder of Afro-Art Studios in Nigeria, which aims to preserve and showcase African culture through the digitization of objects. His entrepreneurial commitment is to bridge the gap between traditional crafts and modern technology, making African art accessible on a global scale. 

These various initiatives are evidence of the entrepreneurial spirit and innovation and effective contribution made by young professionals to the enhancement and promotion of African heritage.  

This webinar, gathered nearly a hundred participants from Africa's five regions, shows that Africans have every reason to be optimistic about the future of their heritage and can count on the strength of young people and the support of the institutions.