The first-ever Design Week Addis Ababa (DWAA) aims to transform the Ethiopian capital city into the epicenter of design, commerce and trade.
Metasebia Yoseph, owner of Gallery26 and founder of DWAA, has been planning this ambitious cultural and commercial event for the past year. A large part of her process has involved convincing others of the growing need for design-centered thinking in developing countries and its economic viability, Yoseph told Okayafrica. She pointed to Ethiopia’s absence of a robust arts infrastructure as a possible reason for the indifference and lack of financial support that she’s encountered.
“When we’re talking about design, we’re ultimately talking about problem solving, and there are lots of problems to be solved that could resonate more through a design-centered approach,”said Yoseph. “As a society we need the right tools to envision our future. We need the agency or confidence to actively “design our own development”, hence the “developmentXdesign” tagline and hashtag.”
Scheduled to take place December 7 through 13, the full itinerary will feature showcases, lectures, exhibitions, workshops, live performances and demonstrations, all spanning several industries including technology, architecture, gastronomy, art and industrial design.
“This event could be a catalyst for re-thinking African development,” said Yoseph. “Applying a design-centered approach to African challenges forces us to confront old models and innovate towards more inspired solutions.”
**Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that Metasebia Yoseph is 26.