A host of African leaders attending the 49 Annual Meeting of the African Development Bank Group (AFDB) in the Rwandan capital Kigali have expressed their views the kind of Africa they want in the next fifty years.
This was during the “Africa We Want Session” that was moderated by Tumi Makgabo, a former Presenter at CNN on Wednesday.
The leaders who included; the host; President Paul Kagame, money bags Mo Ibrahim, AU chief Ndlamini Nkosazana Zuma, former presidents Olusegun Obasanjo (Nigeria), Thabo Mbeki (South Africa), Banjamin Mkapa (Tanzania) and the president of the AFDB Donald Kaberuka, painted a rosy picture of the future Africa going forward.
Obasanjo whose main focus was on the youth started of by asking “What Africa do we want?”
“We need an Africa where nobody will feel oppressed and will have the opportunity to exploit their potential.” the former Nigerian head of state said.
He added saying, “We do not have a critical mass of performing African leaders”
Mo on his part chose to focus on the issue of age and wondered why leaders who are living in the evening of their lives continue to contest elections in Africa instead of allowing the youth their space.
“Where are 90 year-old leaders taking us? to the grave?” Mo Ibrahim wondered, drawing applause from the audience.
He called on leaders to accept the fact that they are detached from the youth and their aspirations.
“We have to accept the fact we are out of touch with the youth” Mo said. “We need to empower the youth and incorporate them into power” he added.
As if to agree with Mo Ibrahim, the African Union boss, Ndlamini Zuma called for more investment on the young people of Africa.
“If we skill our young people, they will figure out what to do” she said before adding that “We need a leadership that thinks African”
The host, president Paul Kagame reminded the audience of Rwanda’s past saying “What went wrong in Rwanda was politics. Leaders made people believe that they are the majority and the others should be killed”
He said leaders must deliver on what is expected of them.
Former South African president Thabo Mbeki said “We need an Africa that is free of violence and conflict and war, free from poverty, corruption and driven by women emancipation”
He added saying “We need a critical assessment of ourselves”.
Benjamin Mkapa, the former Tanzanian leader said selfishness denies Africa a prosperous life.
The meeting which ends on Friday is expected to be formally open on Thursday. Presidents Yoweri Museveni of Uganda and Kenya’s Uhuru Kenyatta are expected to attend.