President Akufo-Addo has called on African leaders and on the United States of America, as the continent’s development partner, to take steps as a matter of necessity to turn Africa into a place of investment, progress and prosperity. This, he said, will help stop Africa’s youth fleeing the continent in search of a better life in other parts of the world.
President Akufo-Addo was addressing the audience at the “Africa and Diaspora Young Leaders Forum”, an event under the banner of the 2022 US-Africa Summit, at the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, DC. Speaking on the theme for the forum – “Amplifying Voices: Building Partnerships that Last” – he said it is time for Africa to stop begging and rather to take a conscious decision to spend Africa’s money within the continent in order to secure Africa’s development.
“We must help make Africa a place for investment, progress and prosperity, and not [one] from where our youth flee in the hope of accessing the mirage of a better life in Europe, Asia or the Americas.
“That is what the Beyond the Return seeks to do, so we can derive maximum dividends from our relations with the diaspora, in mutually beneficial co-operation and as partners for shared growth and development,” said the president in remarks at the closing session of the Africa and Diaspora Young Leaders Forum.
No more excuses
Emphasising a passionate plea to his colleague African leaders and US officials, President Akufo-Addo said “the second half of the 20th century witnessed a great blow for human progress and freedom when the African peoples, in the wake of Ghana’s shining example, liberated themselves from the colonial and imperialist yoke and the racist ideology of apartheid, and emerged as free, independent peoples to construct new nations of hope and advancement”.
“The first half of the 21st century,” said President Akufo-Addo, should, as of right, “consolidate this development and see the growth of modern, prosperous, technologically advanced nations within the united Africa which will make a reality of the dream of the 21st century as Africa’s century and bring dignity and respect to black people all over the world”.
“We have done enough talking, and dare I say we have had enough conferences and workshops. We know what we need to do. It’s time just to do it.
“We have run out of excuses for the state of our continent. We have the manpower, we should have the political will. It is time to make Africa work,” Akufo-Ado declared.
According to the president, Africans “have good reason to be proud of who we are and of the beautiful continent which is ours, with our vibrant cultures”.
The geographical space covered by Africa, the president noted, makes it the second largest of the seven continents. “It also has 30% of the world’s remaining minerals of value, [as well as] some of the most breath-taking scenes on our planet”.
Keep at it, stop begging
Africa, President Akufo-Addo argued, “has plants and animals that are the wonders of the world and critical for the survival of the globe. I hear a lot about the need to change our narrative and tell our own good story. As the saying goes, nothing succeeds like success.
“If we work at it, if we stop being beggars, and spend Africa’s monies inside the continent, Africa will not need to ask for respect from anyone. We will get the respect we deserve,” the president said.
“Thirty years ago, 20 years ago, China was nowhere near where it is today. China does not ask anyone for respect now, because she does not need it. Let us make our continent the prosperous and joyful place it should be and the respect will follow,” Akufo-Addo said.
Working with Africa
The vice-president of the United States, Kamala Harris, spoke alongside the Ghanaian leader and registered her appreciation to President Akufo-Addo for his strong advocacy, aimed at strengthening existing relations between the US, Ghana and the rest of Africa.
She said that Africa’s young leaders are a huge asset to the continent and the United States stands ready to support all young talents and enterprises to grow in their chosen field of endeavour.
“The Biden/Harris administration intends to be right there alongside you, these young leaders, knowing it is the spark and determination of young people that will drive and move us forward,” said Vice-President Harris.
“In the coming days as well as the months and years ahead, our administration will invest out time and energy to fortify partnerships across the continent, partnerships that, importantly, are grounded on candour, openness, inclusiveness, shared interests and mutual benefits. And overall, our administration will be guided not by what we can do for Africa, but what we can do with Africa,” Harris added.
The US-Africa Summit
President Joe Biden of the United States is hosting 49 leaders from across the African continent in Washington, DC between 13 and 15 December to take part in the US-Africa Leaders’ Summit.
The summit seeks to demonstrate the United States’ enduring commitment to Africa, and will underscore the importance of US-Africa relations and increased co-operation on shared global priorities.
Africa, the US president is reported to have said, “will shape the future — not just the future of the African people, but of the world. Africa will make the difference in tackling the most urgent challenges and seizing the opportunities we all face.”
The U.-Africa Leaders’ Summit seeks to build on shared values to better foster new economic engagement; advance peace, security and good governance; reinforce the commitment to democracy, human rights and civil society; work collaboratively to strengthen regional and global health security; promote food security; respond to the climate crisis; strengthen ties across the diaspora; and promote education and youth leadership.