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Rawlings: Over-reliance On Foreign Investment Makes Africa Vulnerable   
 
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28-Mar-2012  
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Ex-President Rawlings explains a point at a press conference organised by NEPAD.
 
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Ghana’s former President and African Union High Representative for Somalia, Flt Lt Jerry John Rawlings, says the over-reliance on foreign investment by Africa had made it vulnerable to the dictates of the international community.

He said such vulnerability is often to the detriment of African unity and development.

In an address delivered at the 10th Anniversary colloquium of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) in Addis Ababa on Tuesday, President Rawlings said: “While the West is boosting regional integration and supporting each other at a time of global financial crisis, we are still grappling with unifying our continent and protecting each other from globaleconomic challenges.”

President Rawlings said a hugely resourced continent such as Africa should be able to give real stimulus to the African Union and its organs such as NEPAD to implement progressive initiatives that pursue a common African agenda of continental development.

The former President said one of the challenges facing the smooth implementation of NEPAD and other African initiatives is the abuse of leadership by elected officers.

“We can over the past decade lay claim to expanding democracy across the continent with multi-partyism flourishing. Electoral victory for some however, means a leadership of impunity”, President Rawlings said.


Please find below the full text of President Rawlings’ address.


ADDRESS BY H.E. JERRY JOHN RAWLINGS, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF GHANA AT THE 10TH ANNIVERSARY COLLOQUIUM OF NEPAD – ADDIS ABABA, MARCH 28, 2012

Your Excellency Meles Zenawi, Prime Minister of Ethiopia,

Your Excellency Olusegun Obasanjo, former President of Nigeria,

Your Excellency Dr. Erasmus Mwencha, Dep Chairperson of the AU Commission,

Honourable Dr.Ibrahim Mayaki, Chief Executive Officer, NEPAD Agency,

Excellencies, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen:

I wish to express my gratitude to the NEPAD Agency and the African Union for offering me an opportunity to share my thoughts on the topic, “NEPAD, Inspiring change in Africa”.

This ceremony marks ten years since African leaders endorsed an ambitious new project aimed at infusing dynamism and action into a truly African driven plan for accelerating political and economic development on our continent.

NEPAD has chalked significant successes in the areas of agriculture and food security, regional integration, economic and corporate governance, theenvironment, human development as well as gender and capacity development.

These wide-ranging programmes, some in partnership with other international agencies have created opportunities for our people across thecontinent, helped accelerate Africa’s economic growth and has great potential for poverty alleviation.

It is heartwarming to note for instance that NEPAD is in conjunction with the UNDP supporting the capacity building processes of the new South Sudan government. NEPAD is also facilitating feasibility studies on the proposed high-speed rail line from South Sudan to the Kenyan port city of Mombasa.

Ladies and gentlemen, while we applaud NEPAD for these developmental initiatives, we have to concede that sadly, Africa has also faced significant challenges over the past decade particularly in giving true meaning to African unity, national political leadership, curbing corruption across all sectors of our societies and lack of true inspiration for our youth as builders of tomorrow.
 





Ex-President Rawlings in a chat with a participant at the colloquium
LEADERSHIP AND IMPUNITY

Africa’s major challenge has been in the area of leadership across the board – we can over the past decade lay claim to expanding democracy across the continent with multi-partyism flourishing. Electoral victory for some, however, means a leadership of impunity. This culture of impunity is widespread, affecting economic, political, judicial and almost every sector of our society in some parts of our continent.

The fallout of this impunity is the emasculation of opposition groups, effectively ensuring that the opposition is rendered inefficient and of late leading to uprisings of wide-ranging nature from internal terrorism to popular uprising.

Ladies and gentlemen, the New Partnership for Africa’s Development can be sustained and enhanced if as a continent we learn to collectively appreciate the relevance of true African unity. NEPAD is still one of the vehicles that promises to inspire change on the continent and we all have a responsibility of creating a conducive environment for the real change required to boost Africa’s development.

INTERNATIONAL INVESTMENT

There has been heavy international investment in various parts of ourcontinent. Unfortunately our reliance on those foreign powers has made us vulnerable to their dictates to the detriment of African unity and development.

While the West is boosting regional integration and supporting each other at a time of global financial crisis, we are still grappling with unifying our continent and protecting each other from global economic challenges.

African unity and development is not a mirage. It requires a positivewill from our political leaders who ten years ago had the dream of pursuing the continent’s development in a multi-faceted manner.

Ladies and gentlemen, in furthering the ideals of NEPAD and giving true meaning to the theme: “Inspiring change in Africa”, the continent has to embrace the relevance of our youth to political, economic, social and cultural development.

EMPOWERING THE YOUTH

The dynamic nature of global technological development means our youth are equipped with so much under-utilized knowledge because we fail to appreciate and tap their potential. The era of idealism which allowed youngpeople to have patriotic aspirations of one day bringing honour and achievement to their countries and by extension to the continent has given way to a youth who today have their lives compromised.

It is admirable that NEPAD and the African Union have in various initiatives worked to build capacities for the youth to boost their role and impact on their countries’ development, but individual African countries have to embrace a concept of cultural renaissance in a bid to boost justice, truth and integrity in our national life.

Nothing can be more constructive, purposeful and liberating than the integrity of truth and justice, just as nothing can be more destructive as the corruption of our integrity.

One of the challenges Africa youth face, arises from the manner in which the colonial language has been used to superimpose a foreign but powerful reality on our world. Often this new reality challenges the authority and integrity of truth and truthfulness that is carried in our indigenous languages.

The integrity of truth related to our social and political life has been so corrupted that freedom and justice remain elusive.
The acquired language has opportunistically been used to avoid incorporating the wisdom, the sense of integrity and democracy in our traditional culture into our adopted Western form of constitutionality.

Whilst Western constitutionality and elections ensure Western democracy, we use our constitutionality and elections to not only undermine democracy but to alsoperpetuate authoritarian rule. We use the outward trappings of constitutional rule and elections to give a false impression of democratic and responsible leadership.

Ladies and gentlemen, Africa’s potential is enormous and the fact that our leaders conceived the NEPAD ten years ago is enough evidence of what we are capable of.

With a continent, which still has huge untapped resources and continues to discover them in such significant proportions, we need to give real stimulus to the African Union and its organs such as the NEPAD to implement progressive initiatives that pursue a common African agenda of continental development.

But such a position will be realistic and workable only if as a continent we agree to work together rather than against each other. Integration on the continent has made some significant inroads, but there is the fear that sometimes some of our regional blocks are influenced more by the dictates of the West and other powerful economies than the demands of our people.

PEER REVIEW

The African Peer Review Mechanism, as an initiative of African leaders should be empowered to set standards and indicators that would be a yardstick to measure political and institutional management on our continent.

Your Excellencies, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen: NEPAD as a radical intervention, spearheaded by African leaders to pursue new priorities and approaches to the political and socio-economic transformation of Africa can truly enhance Africa's growth, development and participation in the global economy.

The quest for regional and continentalintegration should not be seen as a threat to individual sovereignties of African countries. It should be recognized as a mutually beneficial process that enhances our political economies through the creation of wider markets, taking advantage of the benefits of economies of scale while protecting us from the demands of so-called advanced economies.

NEPAD focuses on the accountability ofAfrican leaders to their people and their peers while pursuing policies that are in line with global standards with the goal of halting the marginalization of the continent. While commending the continent for embracing a commitment to enhancing good governance, we need to create a more transparent mechanism of accountability and integrity if we are to win the trust and confidence of not only our people, but also our global partners.

As we deliberate here today and look forward to the future of NEPAD and its partner initiatives, let us enjoin member countries and their leadership to commit themselves to strengthen their resolve and belief in the potential of African-owned initiatives. There may be stumbling blocks but with a commitment to succeed we are bound to overcome the challenges.

Thank you.
 
Source: Peacefmonline.com
 
 

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