Youth, the Hope of Africa’s Future
Windhoek ‑ Namibian President Hifikepunye Pohamba has urged African youth to take a stand and be the champions of unity on the continent by equipping themselves with relevant skills.
President Pohamba said young people need to step forward to build on recent experiences and chart the way forward for Africa, adding that they can play an important role and serve as dynamic agents of structural transformation for the continent’s development if they are well equipped.
“The youth are the hope of Africa.
The youth are the reservoirs of knowledge and catalysts for Africa’s development. Our youth are our wealth,” he said.
He made the call in Windhoek recently during the official launch of Namibia’s celebration of the 50th jubilee of the founding of the Organisation of African Union (OAU) now African Union (AU).
On May 25, 1960 – African leaders established the OAU, a continental body that sought to promote an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa.
The launch by President Pohamba is part of the wider year-long celebration across Africa that was launched by the African Union Commission.
Throughout the year, various discussions on different thematic issues will be held as part of the celebrations.
The outcome of the discussions will be used to develop Africa’s Agenda 2063, which will serve as the blueprint of the continent’s future.
President Pohamba emphasized that the celebrations are set to mobilise African citizens in the continent and the Diaspora to promote an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, driven by its own citizens and representing a dynamic force in the global arena.
He stressed that generations of African leaders such as Sam Nujoma, Kwame Nkrumah, Julius Nyerere, Robert Mugabe, Kenneth Kaunda, and many others, have laid the foundation for the promotion of continental unity and integration, which the younger generation should continue to build upon.
He said that African history offers the youth a greater opportunity to reflect on the past five decades and determine a renewed consciousness for the next 50 years in fulfilling a democratic and prosperous continent by creating organic strategies for deepening sustainable development and resilient economies.
During a public lecture titled: “Pan-Africanism and the African Renaissance”, Namibia’s Founding President Sam Nujoma said Africa has come a long way from the struggle for political independence to the post-colonial struggles for economic progress.
Nujoma noted that though the OAU had achieved its goal of liberation of the African continent, the continent is still facing the unresolved case of colonialism like in the Western Sahara.
He stressed that: “Africa has achieved many milestones but the question of Western Sahara is a question that every self-respecting Pan-Africanist should champion.”
Therefore, he called upon Morocco to support the holding of free referendum for the people of Western Sahara for self-determination and national independence.
He further urged African countries to urgently consolidate all the structures of the African Union (AU) for them to build on military force “to defend the territorial integrity, the territorial water and airspace of the African continent against any foreign invasion.
“I call on all the African countries to strengthen South to South Co-operation and the Non-Aligned Movement in order to withstand the onslaught of foreign forces and ensure that we continue to grow Africa’s infrastructure across the continent so as to develop intra-African trade,” said the statesman.
During the lecture, Nujoma also called for a single African currency and passport so as to advance the idea of Pan-Africanism and African Renaissance.
He said Africa needs to work harder in order to eradicate poverty, disease and ignorance from the face of African continent.
He also reflected on painful history of slavery, colonialism by European countries and liberation of Africa.
“I can proudly state that African people did not submit to colonial subjugation and exploitation but rose up in arms to resist colonial occupation through Pan-Africanism,” he said.
Nujoma also paid homage to the founding fathers of the OAU for their historic contribution to the significance of Pan-Africanism.