Africa Day must take us forward

2012-05-27 09:47 Another Africa Day came and went on Friday. Again African leaders committed themselves to the renewal of the continent and the advancement of its people. Nothing wrong there.

Unfortunately, efforts to give Africa the footing it demands tend to be material for conference halls and academic debates.

Our leaders seem content with using platforms of days such as these to make commitments they don’t intend to see through.

Africans have known since the first batch of independent states emerged at the end of the 1950s and beginning of the 1960s what has to be done.

After more than 50 years of freedom from colonial rule, counting how many peace treaties have been signed in the previous year should stop being a measure of progress, but rather the development of the continent’s entrepreneurs and scientists.

Africa Day must cease to be a ritual that runs the risk of meaninglessness by making it about grand speeches on the continent’s glorious past or what its future should be without taking meaningful steps towards achieving the objectives set out in the speeches of previous years.

Each Africa Day should be a time for Africans to celebrate their achievements and prosperity as a people. But to get to that point, African leaders must lead.

They must develop a vision for what should happen and clarify how they believe their countries can achieve that vision.

Ordinary people should also play their role in defining the vision for their countries and holding their leaders accountable when they depart from the agreed path.