In commemorating the Golden Jubilee anniversary celebrations of the African Union (AU), The Ghana Centre for Entrepreneurship Employment and Innovation (GCEEI), a youth focused and led organisation, with the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration held a model of the Africa Union meetings in Accra, Ghana.
The conference which was live on the 25th day of May, 2013, saw the coming together of some youths across the Continent, precisely, Nigeria, Liberia, Tanzania, and the host country, Ghana.
The dignitaries present at the gathering were the Honourable Minister for Financial and Allied Institutions at the Presidency, Hon. Fiifi Kwetey, the Head of the Diplomatic Mission in Ghana, Head of UNESCO West Africa, Mr. Eric Osiakwan; amongst other notable personalities.
Speaking on the theme, ‘Promoting Intra-Africa Trade Through Pan Africanism and Partnerships’, the Honourable Minister for Financial and Allied Institutions at the Presidency, Hon. Fiifi Kwetey, extrapolated that the hindrance to the growth of the African continent is the diminution in the core values of the people of the African continent.
Touching on the theme, the Minister acknowledged the founding fathers for the efforts made to bring the continent the needed liberation, but bemoaned what he termed thereafter, “a tragic case of abysmal mismanagement”; a situation he claimed has left many souls of African descent questioning the real essence of self-rule.
“It has being fifty long years since the organisation (AU) was formed…Nearly six decades on, what we have been able to show the world is the tragic case of abysmal mismanagement, mismanagement that actually has made many, many sons and daughters of our continent ask why we have not remained at the level of colonialism at the first place.”
He further argued that, in order for the continent to witness the needed development, it is prudent that the meetings of the younger generation do not become a shadow of what he described as “the talk, talk, and more talk, but no action” meetings of the past fifty years.
Trade, he maintained is crucial for the development of the continent, but the unfortunate attitude of suspicion which has barracked individual partnerships for a fact, has equally resurfaced at the sub-regional level, and till we trust ourselves, no level of talks can help the continent.
Judging from the foregoing, he debunked any assertion that Africans lack the knowledge needed to solve the problems that confronts us a continent, but maintained the essence of keeping with our core values as a people, a phenomenon he claimed the continent was losing touch of. He juxtaposed this assertion with the claim that, most of the educated people in the world are Africans, yet the continent seems to be confronted with several problems.
In furtherance of his argument, he identified the continent as a potentially viable community for growth. “The continent,” he said, “has youths as a chunk of its population”; a case he claimed was different with other continents. In order to harness these glaring opportunities to our advantage, he tasked the delegates to go back to our lost values as a continent. “We appreciate that it’s not only the question of knowledge because we make it look as if, if only we are educated, we would bring transformation, it is not true. Some of our leaders have had knowledge all the way to a professorial level.” Knowledge has to be in alignment with values, passion and be designed for transformation. The continent has a great promise, but that promise can only be fulfilled through a complete understanding of what it takes to bring change, and it’s not going to happen by a lot more conferences.
Though he accepted that African leaders can partially be blamed for some problems facing the continent, they must not wholly be blamed for the continent’s bedevilment. “The problem of Africa is not a lack of policies, but the people of Africa,” he reiterated at the end of his speech.