Local researchers and scholars have said African countries need to get a common vision and devise a joint strategy to implement it.
This was during a public talk show organised by the local chapter of the Pan African Movement and held at the Rwanda Revenue Authority conference hall in Kigali.
Prof François Masabo, a University don, indicated that “African countries need to keep memory of the journey of liberation of Africa” to overcome the challenges they face in their pursuit for sustainable peace and security.
“African countries need to get a common vision and strategy to implement it. Africa needs visionary and capable leadership; a common vision with key values of Africa, unity, discipline, self-esteem, self-reliance, accountability, and imagination,” Prof. Masabo said.
Africa, the don stressed, needs to build institutions and structures that respond to the needs of governance and development.
Prof. Masabo, who holds a PhD in social sciences with specialisation in sociology of change and conflict, is a researcher at the Centre for Conflict Management (CCM) of the University of Rwanda. He observed that colonial mentality destroyed the dignity of Africa.
According to Prof. Masabo, the education system on the continent also matters as it nurtures the young generation and future leaders of the continent. “The education of our young generation is key to making them ambassadors of African values wherever they are and the issue of youth employment must be tackled.”
With Africa often presented as a war-ridden continent, the varsity don also emphasised the importance of journalists on the continent, especially with regard to telling the African story.
Building African media that convey the views, culture and image of Africa, he said, is of paramount importance.
“The journalists also have a very important role in showing the true and important values of Africa as a continent that can benefit the world.”
Masabo warned that “several factors suggest Africa will continue to witness violent conflicts and serious political upheavals if nothing is being done in tackling those issues.”
He said this relates to the illegitimate origin of the African state, it’s corrupt and authoritarian systems of governance, the alienation of state structures and processes from the public, and the failure of state institutions to provide for the needs of citizens in a meaningful way.
Dr Eric Ndushabandi, a political scientist, said trade will also play a vital role when enhanced.
He was commenting on the aspect of intra-state trade as a possible solution to challenges facing the continent.
Dr Ndushabandi said: “Yes, intra-state trade in the pan-African perspective is the view that countries have set up structures that permit trade amongst themselves. It is the consciousness followed by the institutionalisation of the same and sustainability of it all.”
Intrastate trade as a concept is not new in Africa but what is important is the spirit behind it, he said.
On the concept of peace, Dr Ismael Buchanan, the Dean of the School of Economics and Governance, in the College of Business and Economics, at the University of Rwanda, explained that peace in the context of present-day Africa “is more than the lack of war.”
He said: “Peace is not all about the absence of war. We look at peace in the perspective of how Africa has been affected, with this kind of level of poverty, illiteracy, disease, and human security.”
The former secretary general of the Rwanda Diaspora Global Network (RDGN) explained that food insecurity, discrimination and other factors also contribute to peace.
On an optimistic note, he noted that Africa is rising and “this is the right time to realise that we don’t have to rely” on the United Nations and other similar international organisations. Africa has to solve its own issues, he said. “We have to start from within when it comes to finding solutions.”
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