Efforts to transform Africa into a global powerhouse and end the struggles of its people need an urgent agenda now and not for 2063, speakers at the 2023 Nkrumah Mandela Leadership Conference have urged.
The speakers said the African Union’s Agenda 2063, a blueprint and master plan to transform Africa into a world giant, did not conform to the objectives and dreams of some of the continent’s visionaries such as Kwame Nkrumah, Nelson Mandela and other great former African leaders.
It is their belief that an instant plan will deliver on its goal for inclusivity and sustainable development as well as a concrete manifestation of the pan-African drive.
The speakers are Physician and Cardiothoracic Surgeon, Professor Kwabena Frimpong Boateng; Journalist and General Secretary of the Socialist Movement of Ghana, Kwesi Pratt Jnr, and the High Commissioner of South Africa to Ghana, Grace Jeanet Marson.
Prof. Frimpong-Boateng emphasised Nkrumah’s vision, drive and skills to use science to develop the country and Africa at large, saying it would only take transformational leadership to help solve the many daunting challenges facing Africa currently.
“We cannot wait till 2063.
From 1957 to 1966, Nkrumah did not have a fraction of the people we have now.
The technocrats, architects, engineers, pharmacists, nurses, teachers, scientists and all the tools that we have now.
“Certainly, there was no GPS, no internet, mobile phone, fax machines but he was able to achieve a lot,” Prof. Frimpong-Boateng said.
Elaborating on Nkrumah’s achievements, the former Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation said Nkrumah considered industrialisation as a key factor in the modernisation and development of the country and so he developed an extensive programme which emphasised on import substitution, job creation and reduction in the dependence on colonial powers.
“Nkrumah took very bold steps in preparing Ghana for industrial take- off, the accelerated education programme and the setting up of the Ghana Education Trust Fund which enabled the building of secondary and technical schools all over Ghana.
These were the first steps in securing manpower for Ghana’s industrialisation,” Prof. Frimpong-Boateng said.
For his part, Mr Pratt Jnr, an avowed Nkrumaist, in a keynote address, stated that the current crisis of Africa required an urgent solution rather than a later plan.
Speaking on the theme: “The Osagyefo and the Madiba: Global Africa in Search of Transformational Leadership in the 21st Century,” Mr Pratt said the leadership of this continent had failed and it had nothing to offer the young generations of Africans.
Therefore, there was the need for such conferences to think about what could be done in order to regenerate the kind of leadership that Nkrumah, Mandela, Sékou Touré and others wanted for Africa.
“The economic crisis in Africa is real and it is daunting too.
We need an agenda for now and not 2063.
The effort to reshape Africa is an urgent task now, not tomorrow, not the year after and certainly not 2063,” Mr Pratt stressed.
“The fact that our leaders met and approved this Agenda 2063 is an indication of the type of leadership we have on the continent today.
I must say with all emphasis that I am completely disgusted by the kind of leadership Africa has today,” he added.
He further suggested a solution: “If we are to match forward to the realisation of the objectives, dreams and visions of Madiba and Osagyefo, then we have to do something urgent on this continent.”
For her part, the High Commissioner of South Africa called for collaboration to strengthen the bonds of solidarity, promote sustainable development and advance the shared vision of a prosperous, united and peaceful Africa.
Ms Marson said in a world faced by a myriad of challenges, the principles championed by Nkrumah and Mandela — unity, social justice and the pursuit of peace — remained as relevant as ever.
The conference brought together delegates from 12 other African countries.
There were discussions on topics such as political leadership, African citizenship, the Pan-African Agenda and Economic Transformation and leadership.