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Prez Mills' AU Speech
 
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30-Jun-2011  
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STATEMENT BY H.E. PROF. JOHN EVANS ATTA MILLS, PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF GHANA DURING THE 17th ORDINARY SESSION OF THE ASSEMBLY OF HEADS OF STATE AND GOVERNMENT OF THE AFRICAN UNION IN MALABO, EQUATORIAL GUINEA, 30 - 1ST JULY, 2011


Your Excellency, Mr. Theodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, President of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea and Chairperson of the African Union,

Your Excellency, Dr. Jean Ping, Chairperson of the African Union Commission,

Colleague Heads of State Government,

Your Excellencies,

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen.

The Ghana Delegation, which I have the honour to lead, is delighted to be present at this august gathering.

Let me first of all thank our generous hosts for this wonderful African hospitality.

We really do feel at home here in this beautiful city of Malabo.

It is also heart-warming for me to be here among my brethren from all over Africa.

Colleague Heads of State, there is no gainsaying the fact that the future growth paths of our countries in particular, and the Continent in general, depend very much on the growth paths we design for our youth.

As a Continent, we have never lacked when it comes to human resource.

Maybe what we have lacked, is, a spirited harnessing of our human resource potential for the maximum benefit of the Continent.

Gathered here today, we are products of positive investments that readied us for the task ahead.

Colleague Heads of State, it is incumbent on us therefore to continue to invest heavily in the future of our youth to enable them take over from us when our time is past.

It is a matter of fact that the belief systems that shaped our youthful days are not the same as the value systems that are shaping youth of today.

The youth of today are caught-up in a cycle of conflicting ideologies coupled with technological innovations, economic pressures, unemployment and its attendant hardships.

Mr. Chairman,
Evidence has shown that the accumulation of human capital through manpower and skills development is the most potent agency for accelerated economic development.

Knowledge, when made available to our sons and daughters, is what will transform our uneducated masses into the valuable human capital base that will move us onto higher pedestals.

But while we strive to give our youth classroom based knowledge, it is important that we do not make them lose the homegrown values that make us a unique people.

Let our children know our history and all its inherent contradictions because contradiction is the motor of all human development.

Colleague Heads of State, we must not pay lip service to empowering the youth with the know-how and opportunities that will adequately allow them to secure their future and the future of our sovereign countries as well as the Continent.

Action speaks louder than words and so we must let our policies for the youth bear testimony to our preparedness to make the youth of today look to the future with hope and optimism.

As President of Ghana, I have taken concrete steps to invest heavily at all levels of the youth strata.

In Ghana, for instance, we have the Youth in Agriculture Programme and the National Youth Employment Programme (NYEP) which are aimed at providing the youth with employable skills and training.

Though the Programmes are not without their challenges, we are determined to actively pursue them, deepen and perfect them through practice, education and innovation.

In the area of education, we are investing heavily in infrastructure, scholarship schemes, as well as adequately motivating teachers and improving the teaching environment.

A comprehensive plan has been put in place to turn schools under trees into brick and mortar structures and within two years, over 1,200 classroom blocks have been built.

Part of our social democratic education policy revolves around the distribution of free school uniforms and free school books to school children at the basic level.

Indeed, I have made a conscious effort to build a solid bridge between our generation and the younger generation by opening up the governance space for a number of young men and women to be part of my Administration.

I have no regrets at all for having young men and women serving in my Administration and supporting our desire to build a Better Ghana.

Mr. Chairman,
All over the world, young people are rising up to demand recognition and participation in governance and their genuine call cannot be ignored.

They are searching for economic and social rights and a peaceful and just society which gives them equal opportunities.

The days when issues concerning the welfare of the youth were treated as secondary issues are long gone.

Your Excellencies, distinguished ladies and gentlemen,

The political and economic situation in Africa today is encouraging and at the same time disturbing.

It is encouraging to see many states both small and large embrace the tenets of democracy and good governance and also to see the economies of most African countries growing at a steady pace.

It is however disturbing to see that despite the progress made, we still have pockets of instability on the continent, impeding democracy and hindering development in those areas.

In the past few months we have all been witnesses to unprecedented concurrent turmoil across the Continent.

Thankfully, the crisis in Cote d'lvoire has been resolved and the country is on the path of national unity and reconciliation.

We congratulate the people of Cote d'lvoire and invite them to put the past behind them and work towards building a united country.

After the upheavals in Tunisia and Egypt, there is no doubt that the transitional administrations which were put in place are working tirelessly to ensure that appropriate political reforms are instituted to meet the needs and aspirations of their people.

We stand by them.

With regards to the current crisis in Libya, I must say that it is very unfortunate that the situation continues to deteriorate with each passing day.

I wish to add my voice to that of the countless people of Africa and the African Union in calling for an immediate ceasefire, and for all inclusive negotiations.

I appeal to the Libyan Government and the Transitional National Council to heed this call.

It is time to talk together as one people and democratically decide on the way forward.

At this point, let me commend the African Union Commission, the AU High Level Panel and the Peace and Security Council for all the work they have been doing to ensure that peace returns to Libya.

I would also like to urge them to forge ahead until the conflict is completely resolved.

I wish also to congratulate the Government and people of Sudan for a successful referendum and to assure them that the Government and people of Ghana look forward to welcoming South Sudan into the comity of African states.

I wish to commend the members of the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and all the stakeholders in the Somali peace process for their commitment.

Although there are challenges, with determination, the peace all Somalis crave for will be achieved.

Let us all make a solemn pledge that the children being born in Somalia and Sudan today should grow up tomorrow and read about the wars and famine that plagued their countries in history books.

Africa needs peace to develop.

As Leaders, the best legacy we can leave, is, a continent free from war, disease and famine.

We dare not leave a legacy of a continent where children will spend their childhood fighting needless wars.

So doing, we would be working towards "Accelerating Youth Empowerment for Sustainable Development".

Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah and the Founders of the OAU believed that the development of Africa depends to a large extent on unity.

This belief has always been the anchor of Ghana's foreign policy.

Ghana is committed to working with our sister countries to realize this dream.

In the current international environment in which technological advancement is moving at the speed of light, the African Union could not have chosen a better theme for this Summit.

I thank you for the opportunity to share my thoughts with you and appreciate very much your kind attention.

God bless us all and God bless this great Continent of ours.
 
 
 
 
 

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