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What our leaders should understand

Jan 30, 2014, 9:40 AM

We are glad to hear that the 22nd African Union summit will open today in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, at a time when the African continent is faced with a series of conflicts that are not showing any sign of abating soon.

On Monday, the AU Commission announced its top priorities for African peace and security. Those priorities include ending conflict, strengthening institutional effectiveness, and increasing agricultural productivity.

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, especially in the Central African Republic and South Sudan, 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.

We urge that as Africans we also stop killing each other and bring to an 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