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What our leaders should understand

Jun 23, 2011, 1:40 PM

We are glad to hear that the 17th African Union summit will open today in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, at a time when the African continent is faced with a series of conflicts that are not showing any sign of abating soon.

The summit is holding under the theme: Accelerating Youth Empowerment for Sustainable Development. This theme is no doubt of great importance taking into account that one of Africa’s greatest untapped resources is its young people, and the continent should take advantage of the skills and talents of its youth in order to promote sustainable development.

Despite advances in education and economic growth, progress remains fragile, inequalities are widespread and many young Africans face major difficulties in finding decent jobs and participating in decision-making.

As our leaders meet today, we believe they must give more priority and attention to the ongoing conflicts around the continent, and how they can be tackled, during their deliberations.

So much has been written about how to move Africa forward along the path of peace, progress and prosperity.

Experts have identified challenges that are endemic to the continent. They include poverty, disease, hunger, destitution, war, corruption and leadership crisis.

According to experts, all of these challenges bog down the continent.

However, there is no denying the fact that the Africa of today is not the Africa of the past. It is not the Dark Continent or the exploited continent as portrayed by others.

Africa today is shining and radiating brightness. It is a solid and strong continent whose people are the mainstay of its power and wealth.

Therefore, to a large extent, the long issue of integrating the continent must be taken seriously, as unity is strength.

We urge that as Africans we also stop killing each other and bring to end all wars in the continent for the sake of our people.

What Africa owns of natural wealth and capacities makes it at least the first or second power in the globe. Its own raw materials and the resources enable it to potentially establish a giant federal economy capable of competing with the largest economies of the world.

In any language, Africa represents a massive economic weight which can make all Africans rich people, needless of external relief, as much as they are in need of extracting their natural land wealth.

This is what our leaders should understand, and work together for a united Africa capable of creating its own destiny, and talking with one resounding voice that will make the whole world sit up and listen.

As Africans, we must learn to realize our right to choose our own leaders, solve our own problems by ourselves, and ensure that elections are a route to peace, not violence.

“Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.”


President Barack Obama