Thursday, 19 December 2013


19th December, 2013.

The major African problem is lack of economic independence resulted from a commodity based economy. African economy produces more of raw materials than finished products. Africa has the highest potential in agriculture, energy and mineral resources, yet imports most of its foodstuff, energy, and other required economic ingredients. This has weakened the Africa’s economic autonomy and reduces its hard currency earnings leading to devaluation of its currency exchange rate against other currencies. It is important to note that Africa is responsible for many western and European countries’ economic prosperity. Africa contributes to the economic growth of other countries through travels, investments, banking, education, debt services, visas, money transfers, cheap labor etc

If Africans will save the money they spend to travel abroad for leisure, and the money they spend to pay exorbitant tuition fees, and invest that within their continent, they can build the best tourist sites and best universities in the world, and they would have empowered their teaming youth population. Let all Africans come home and build the continent; they should not let others use their brains to build their own economy at the expense of African prosperity. Let Africans be proud and patronize their own brands/products.

Africans should engage in opportunity entrepreneurship not necessity entrepreneurship. Opportunity Entrepreneurs are those that innovate business ventures to meet up with market demands, they look for problems or gap in the market and try to fill in the gap, and this boost the economy and create more employment opportunities. While necessity entrepreneurs are those that engage in any business to sustain themselves, they duplicate and condense the market resulting to lower prices and lower profit, and making the economic growth even lower.

There are bunches of opportunities and potentials in Africa ranging from the fertile lands, unlimited energy resources, and most importantly the abundance of active human labor. The memory of Mandela is not far away, and we all celebrate his life, because he fought for freedom and equality, our generation will not fight for freedom because we are all free, but we can be celebrated like Mandela if we become successful entrepreneurs. The commonwealth Youth Council will be awarding success young entrepreneurs as an encouragement.

In order to support African young entrepreneurs, there should be enabling economic policies, ranging from credit facilities, low taxes, low interest rates etc. There should also be simplification of the procedures and bureaucracy of becoming an entrepreneur, and there should be a special support to Small and Medium enterprises. There should also be education and training in the area of entrepreneurship. Young entrepreneurs should be supported from their local governments at the grassroots. There should also be an economic/market research in Africa to identify the markets needs and economic gaps. There should be free labor mobility within the continent in order to address the problem of structural employment.

20th December, 2013 (the second speech)

The Chairperson presented an inspirational speech. His speech was titled “How to have stronger African economy and better African youth”. Below is the summary of his speech (his words):
“I want to start my speech with sharing my dream for Africa; I have seen three types of Africa in a near future. I have seen Africa being the leading global economy, I have seen Africa where the whole world is proud and longing to come and pursue dreams, and I have seen Africa where youth are the major drivers of the democracy and economy.

For Africans to achieve this dream, we have to be self-reliant, which is the theme of this summit. To be self-reliant, we need to have the sense of pride, we have to believe in Africa and ourselves as Africans, and we have to stop looking up to others, we have to be ourselves and promote our culture and the values we stand for. We must be responsible for our natural resources, and process it within our continent. Any external company that wants to buy our resources, it has to process it within the continent. Governments must invest hugely on the processing and manufacturing industry to enhance economic independence and create employment. The African governments shall stop giving scholarships to study abroad, the money should be saved to build world class standard universities in the continent, or ask the international universities to build their campuses across Africa.

Africans can achieve this considering the fact that Africa currently feed the world, and contribute toward empowering the global industrial sector. Africa meets large percentage of the global energy demands. Africans contribute hugely to economic development of other countries through tourism, education, banking and finance, travels, etc. If we can redirect all our resources toward building our own economy, we can be more than we can ever imagine.

We shall not listen to the cynics that told us we cannot, we shall not let any external force to create division among ourselves, we have so many things in common more than our differences, we shall come together and salvage our continent, we shall think more of our plight and how to solve them by ourselves.

Unfortunately, nowadays, Africans are xenocentrics who think that their own lifestyles, products, or ideas are inferior to those of other cultures. Look at all of us here, only few of us wear cloth that symbolizes our cultural heritage, most of us here including me wear someone’s traditional cloth. Another challenge we face is the use of foreign language at our primary level of educations. Mandela once said “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart” this means that teaching a child in his mother’s language is best way to make him understand the concept. English can be introduced to enable students communicate to the rest of the world but not as a language for educational instructions. We have to discard many of the existing educational curriculums and introduce new ones that address our own peculiar societal challenges and opportunities. Let us have our own African international television, let us control what Africans see on their televisions sets, so that we can promote our own cultural values and promote our brands.

It is equally disheartening how we Africans allowed ourselves to be divided, look at what is happening in South-Sudan, Central African Republic and Democratic Republic of Congo, you will see Africans killing Africans, a brother killing brother, neighbor killing neighbor. Have you ever seen a European killing European? we have to start wearing eyes that sees commonness than differences, ears that listens to good than bad, bodies that do right than wrong, and hearts that forgives than avenges.

We have to start identifying and talking about our own problems and seek for way forward. Youth are the hope for the future Africa we dream, and we will lead this revolution. Now I will talk about our own problem as youth: is not everybody that will agree if I say some of the African youths are lazy and greedy, trying to get rich easily and quickly and anyhow. We have to learn to be brave and pursue greatness through integrity and honesty. Look at Mandela, he is not remembered because of his richness, he was remembered because of his honesty, integrity and excellent traits. If his life taught us anything is that, life is about honesty not wealth. That is why Commonwealth Youth Council has launched the Mandela annual Youth award for young people that follow the footsteps of Nelson Mandela. We should stop competing against ourselves but against the world. We shall shun away from Nepotism and selfishness. I will give you my personal story, there was a time I contested for the chairman of a local government youth council in my community, but I was told that I am not the preferred candidate because I know too much. You can imagine, I was disqualified because of my competence. Where else in the world could you imagine a person being disqualified for being more competent? Now I am standing here today speaking to you as the leader of the world’s largest youth organization, the world have seen something in me that people in my own community could not have the eyes to see. My elections was tough and was based on competence, and I am sure I was able to convince more than 1.2 Billion young people of the commonwealth to give me this mandate. Now the world is benefiting from my qualities, and I was never given that equal opportunity in my own community. So this is one of the African problems, we have to encourage and empower our intelligent and competent young people instead of frustrating them. The African youth have to be united, the more united we are the more powerful we can be to compete against the world and shape every democratic and economic decision in our continent.

We, the youth, have to realize our potentials, we are the strength and proud of every society, we make everything happens. We have the energy, creativity, talents, and we are not corrupt. Youth have the exuberance and can dedicate time to do better things. Look at me now, every single day I read and reply many emails, without getting tired, do you think an old person can be dedicative like that? look at Obama, he was elected at the age of 47, which means that he was given so many chances and opportunity at younger age, which we, the African youth do not enjoy similar treatments. Recently, a young man at the age 27 was appointed a foreign minister in Austria, isn’t that a good thing, youth have to be given the chance, how could they be good and capable leaders if they are not prepared now?

Finally, I want to call on the youth to be more united, and remember to be good ambassadors of Africa wherever they are and at whatever capacity. for example, by holding this position I realized that I am carrying four images, the image of myself, the image of my race, the image of my country and the image of African continent, and whatever I do will have great impact on how the world perceive Africa and African youth.

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