Ghana: Africa needs strong leadership to end poverty

Daily Graphic – Strong leadership and good governance practices are what African leaders need to end poverty on the continent, panellists at a forum have argued.

They also identified empowering women with the needed financial and logistical resources, quality education as well as the provision of employable skills and jobs for young people as other ways to stem poverty.

Panellists at the “Shared prosperity forum” held last Friday at the University of Ghana, Legon, were the President of the World Bank, Dr Jim Yong Kim; President of the African Development Bank, Dr Akinwumi Adesina; the Minister of Education, Professor Naana Jane Opoku-Agyemang and a private entrepreneur and a philanthropist, Mr Tony Elumelu.

The forum was moderated by Africa Business Report BBC World News journalist, Ms Lerato Mbele.

Contributing on the role of women, Prof. Opoku-Agyemang said empowering women would translate into empowering children and the household, quoting the popular saying by Kwegyiri Aggrey that “If you educate a woman, you educate a whole nation” to back her argument.

Touching on education, she identified the medium of instruction in school, especially at the basic level, as the major challenge in delivering quality education, stressing that the medium needed to be changed to one that the child understood.

“Because we are teaching our children in a language they can’t even follow, we are drawing them back,” she said and added, “I believe every subject can be taught in a language the child understands.”

Contributing, Dr Adeseni challenged African universities to introduce courses that met the requirements of the labour market by training graduates who would not only go out looking for jobs, but were themselves job creators.

On good governance, he urged Africans to hold their leaders accountable for their stewardship, saying it was only by so doing that corruption would be reduced, thereby reducing poverty, “because the poverty we see today is absolutely unacceptable.”

Dr Adeseni encouraged the youth to consider agriculture as big business and not see it as that dirty job reserved for illiterates and the aged, citing farmers in USA and other parts of the world as the richest.

He also said the future of Africa rested on agriculture and charged Africans to move into agro-industrialisation by exporting finished products and not the current situation where products were exported in their raw state.

With regard to the ebola pandemic, Dr Kim said the World Bank, in collaboration with the African Development Bank, was the first to provide $100 million, upon learning of the pandemic.

He paid tribute to the African medical professionals who dedicated their lives to fighting it and in the end died trying to save the lives of infected persons. He lamented that the world failed to respond promptly to the outbreak, noting that the only time America became deeply concerned was when 10 of its citizens got infected.

Dr Kim emphasised the need for Africa to pay attention to the plight of women and children, as a strategy to end poverty on the continent.

The Prime Minister of DR Congo, Mr Augustin Matata Ponyo Mapon, said ending poverty was achievable and possible in Africa but that it required good governance, discipline and courage on the part of the leaders to implement certain decisions.

Categories: Africa

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