Africa Needs Quality Leaders -Kufuor
FORMER PRESIDENT John Agyekum Kufuor has entreated Ghanaians and the rest of Africa to choose well-nurtured leaders who can promote good governance and accelerated development on the continent.
Africa, according to him, was afflicted with ignorance, disease, dictatorship and poverty because many people had found their way into leadership positions on the continent without going through the mill.
‘Leadership should not happen like low-hanging fruits that you pluck and eat; you nurture yourself into leadership,’ former President Kufuor maintained.
peaking at the John A. Kufuor Foundation’s 3rd Global Development Lecture on the theme: ‘Africa – Emerging Economies & Globalisation’ at the International Conference Center in Accra, the former president expressed the belief that apart from good leaders, strong institutions were needed to facilitate growth and development.
He said the foundation which he established in 2011, was aimed at promoting and advancing leadership, good governance and development on the African continent.
‘My belief is that to make real progress towards development, a nation needs good leadership which in turn is critical for good governance and I belief again very strongly that it is good governance that creates the enabling environment and set the framework to engender development,’ former President Kufuor reiterated.
The 3rd Global Development Lecture series which was organised by The John A.
Kufuor Foundation, in collaboration with Graphic Communications Group, had Trevor Manuel, Minister in charge of the National Planning Commission of the Republic of South Africa, as the guest speaker.
Two distinguished personalities – former German President Horst Kohler and Nigerian Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo- Iweala – were the guest speakers for the 1 st and 2nd lecture series respectively.
Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and Dr. Henry Lartey, the 2012 presidential candidates of New Patriotic Party (NPP) and Great Consolidated People’s Party (GCPP) respectively, were among the high profile personalities that graced the event.
Former President Kufuor, whose tenure experienced a remarkable economic growth of about 7.4 percent GDP in Ghana, said African leaders must work towards real and rounded development with high quality of life for all the people on sustained bases.
The former president, whose audience included students, said leadership must be nurtured, entreating people in school to use the opportunities on their various campuses to interact with individuals who had made it in life and expand their mental horizons in order to help proffer solutions to Ghanaian and African problems.
He said Africa had not been competitive in the global arena because the continent’s rich mineral resources had been exploited and carted away by the developed West, leaving the continent to suffer indignation and scorn of the exploiters.
Trevor Manuel’s Lecture
Guest speaker for the event Trevor Manuel, who is said to have helped transform the South African economy as Finance Minister for 13 years, bemoaned the fact that Africa had rich resources and yet the majority of her people was still wallowing in abject poverty.
‘Many people in Africa live slum lives’, the South African Minister lamented, calling for total integration of the continent to harness the potential of her people.
Available statistics, according to him, indicated that remittances from Africans in the Diaspora amounted to over $60 billion last year – a figure that was more than Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) to the continent.
Africa, Mr. Manuel suggested, must harness the potential of the remittances from her people and reduce the overdependence on foreign aid.
Affirming the sentiments of former President Kufuor, he called for good leadership and strong institutions that would implement the numerous policies by African governments for the benefit of their people.
Mr. Manuel said with high growth rates in many African countries as well as excellent commodity prices, the continent needed leadership that would push for faster and pragmatic institutional reforms to speed up the process of development.
Touching on integration of the continent, education, healthcare, infrastructural development and home-grown solutions among others, Mr. Manuel called for more investment in these sectors to reverse the trend of underdevelopment and dependency syndrome.
‘Let us accelerate the pace of our work, and ensure that every African renews their self-belief. We have the development lessons to build on; we have a rich African history of successes and unrequited promises to draw from.
‘Increasingly, we have to think of a single Africa, and flatten the sovereign impediments to that single objective. It is worth reminding ourselves of our collective capability,’ Mr. Manuel stated.
By Awudu Mahama
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