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The young African leaders forum

Aug 5, 2010, 11:45 AM

More than 115 young African leaders have gathered in Washington D.C. this week to listen to US President Barrack Obama's speech at the White House. They are a selection of the continent's future leaders taking part in a forum organised by the US President to mark the 50th anniversary of independence in many of their countries, as they look forward to the next half century.

The US President invited them to the forum to hear their vision for Africa for the next 50 years.

"I called this forum for a simple reason. As I said when I was in Accra last year, I don't see Africa as a world apart; I see Africa as a fundamental part of our interconnected world."

"Whether it's creating jobs in a global economy, or delivering education and health care, combating climate change, standing up to violent extremists who offer nothing but destruction, or promoting successful models of democracy and development - for all this we have to have a strong, self-reliant and prosperous Africa. 

"So, the world needs your talents and your creativity. We need young Africans who are standing up and making things happen not only in their own countries, but around the world."

These words of President Obama should not only be heard by young African leaders who partake in the programme, but they should also see it as an inspiration to work hard towards salvaging the continent, which has for long been overlooked.

Youths, they say, are the cream of every society, and the future, therefore, hinges on them.

Notwithstanding, when one takes a critical look at some sections of African youths, and The Gambia, in particular, it would not be hard to realise that our youths have a lot to do, if they are to rise up to not only the challenges confronting the continent, but also rise up to the challenges of the future.

Indeed, it is true that many of our youths, due to many obstacles with poverty as a prime factor, could not acquire the necessary academic qualifications, as well as other skills to make life liveable.

Sadly, many of these youths idle their time in vous, drinking the popular China green tea, building castles in the air, as well as analysing world football rather than engaging themselves in learning trades that will enable them acquire gainful employment.

While there is a need to create an enabling environment for their participation in nation-building, it's equally right that youths must also avail themselves of the opportunities at their disposal.

We, therefore, would like to commend US President Barrack Obama for bringing young African leaders under one forum to discuss, among others, issues affecting the continent.

This, we believe, is one of the ways towards ensuring that Africa moves without wars, violence and other crimes, which still continue to exist in some parts of the continent.

So, the young African leaders should think hard and long about these issues, and see what they can do about it to put an end to the menace.

"In youth we learn; in age we understand."