President John Dramani Mahama on Friday night stated that Africa had for the last decade made some political and economic progress on account of political stability and the strict adherence to democracy and good governance.
He said although countries such as Mali, Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic were still engrossed in destructive wars and disturbances, the continent in general had made some strides that had attracted more Foreign Direct Investment than any other continent in the past years.
President Mahama, who was contributing to a four-member panel to discuss issues on Africa as part of the Olusegun Obasanjo Foundation launch in London, said it was about time Africans took their own destinies into their hands in order to spearhead the development of the continent in the coming years.
Other panelists were; Sirleaf Ellen Johnson, President of Liberia, President Yayi Boni of Benin and President GoodLuck Jonathan of Nigeria.
The Olusegun Obasanjo Foundation, which was launched at the plush Grosvenor House, Marriot Hotel in Central London, is aimed at ensuring nutrition and food security, eliminating youth unemployment, increasing awareness on girl child education and enhancing the elimination of non-communicable diseases in the continent.
The launch attracted, Heads of State, Non-Governmental Organizations and the business community from the African and European continents.
President Mahama suggested that in order to consolidate the gains made over the years, there was the need for African leaders to invest massively in education, promote entrepreneurial development and encourage their citizenry in the Diaspora to contribute their quota to the development of their countries.
He said “Africa is growing tremendously to the extent that out of the ten fastest growing companies in the world that are identified, six of them are coming from Africa.”
President Jonathan in his contribution said the government sector in many African countries was choked and there was the need to promote private entrepreneurship that had the capacity to create more jobs for the youth and supplement the efforts of governments to dissuade borrowing from international financial institutions.
The Nigerian President also appealed to the warring countries in Africa to stop and chart the path of peace and unity that could enhance their political advancement and economic development that would reduce their dependence on developed countries.
President Yayi Boni of Benin on his part attributed lack of employment in Africa to lack of skills and suggested the increment of Vocational and Technical Training that had the potential of equipping the youth with skills to make them self-employed.
President Sirleaf John called for intra-African trade that would promote African creativity and reduce the importation of goods from the developed world to the developing countries that end up stifling their initiatives.