The Conference on “discovering the African” which was organized by The 42nd Generation and held at the African University College of Communications, Accra, Ghana from 9am-1pm on September 25, 2010, was a huge success.
The meeting brought together the following people and groups:
1. Members of the academic environment who are passionate about Africa and the role the African youth should play in setting it on the right page. These included
a. Prof. Kofi Asare Opoku (AUCC), main speaker at the event, who challenged the youth to inquire more into information that will help them know the truth about Africa and encouraged them to be closer to the elders in order to maintain and continue the legacy of the ancestors. He left the participants with two nagging thoughts: “African youth, an elephant cannot give birth to a dwarf”, “African youth, you can only be taller if you stand on the shoulders of those that stood there you” and “African youth, you must realize that borrowed water does not, and cannot quench your thirst… drink your own water”
b. Prof. Absalom Mutere (AUCC). He charged the participants to prepare for a 2011 that will contain decisions made based on the truth they now know about Africa, and not based on the lies of the Western world. Re-iterating Prof. Opoku’s advice, he added that the African youth must find a way to convert the efforts of the ancestors into energy that will help in building a society that reflects the dynamism of the African situation and the aspirations of the African people.
c. Prof. Reginald Jackson (AUCC)
d. Mrs. Christle Jackson (AUCC) – who also encouraged the participants to search for and project the African perspective to the world (especially on the area of marriage and fashion). The world needs to know about Africa, and only the African can tell the world the truth about Africa.
e. Other teachers from primary and secondary schools in Accra.
2. Religious leaders
3. Representatives from the media the media
4. Contingents from African University College of Communications, Methodist University College, Institute of Professional Studies, Ashesi University and the University of Ghana, Legon.
5. Africans from Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, Liberia, Congo and the diaspora.
EXCERPTS OF THE DISCUSSION FROM PARTICIPANTS AT THE CONFERENCE
If subsistent farming is the way to eradicate hunger in Africa, should we discard of it merely because it is not economically viable?
Subsistent farming has been proven to work in Africa. (Ghana is a good example). The operation feed yourself strategy introduced by President Acheampong went a long way to aid Ghana’s food crises. We need to get back to back-yard gardening; planting food crops and vegetables.
• Subsistence farming should not be abandoned but can be complemented by mechanical farming.
• Sustainability of farming methods is not determined by whether it is subsistence or mechanical. It’s dependent upon other things including the resources invested in the industry:
1. The provision of training to farmers on farming methods, procedures, soil
types, fertilizers used etc.
2. Assisting farmers with good seeds and fertilizers for planting.
3. Developing good storage facilities.
4. Building good transportation systems to move produce to the market from
• Implementing organized large scale farming with equipments and trained human resources, plus the labour to manage it. Making available farm implements and tractors for farming.
• Trained and educated youth need to go into Agriculture and implement knowledge gained in schools.
• We need to discard the notion that farming is only for the unschooled or those without formal education.
By whose standard should Africa be termed developed?
• Africa must define development on its own terms and not by what the West say.
• We need to set our own standards by having a vision of where we want to go as a nation and continent. Set serious targets in all sectors and work assiduously to accomplishing them.
• Develop a definite developmental policy and pursue it irrespective of the party in power.
What is the goal of Africa? Is it self sufficiency or being rich?
• We are the richest continent in terms of mineral and natural resources. However, we need to translate this potential into being a self sufficient continent in for example, producing our own food, adding value to our natural resources and developing a highly skilled human resource base. Developing local industries and reduce excess importation of all kinds of junk items from outside.
• We need to build strong institution of state that can deliver results.
• Our potential for wealth creation is enormous, we just need to settle down and take advantage of them.
The role of the Youth
• Changing of our mindsets from a lackadaisical attitude to a proactive and involved disposition to the building a great continent.
• Learn to research into knowing more about Africa’s developmental issues, culture and potentials and proffer solutions to problems.
• Developing the habit of reading quality materials that can broaden our horizon and set us on fire for transformation of the continent.
Let the discussions continue. Africa has hope, because Africa has you.