Thank you, MrSpeaker, for the opportunity to commenton this Statement. Mr Speaker, today is a very importantday for all of us as Africans and Icommend my Hon Colleague, HonBandua, the Hon Chairman of the SelectCommittee on Foreign Affairs, for theStatement. Whereas, it reminds us ofwhere we are coming from and the effortsthat our grandfathers and parents havemade to get us here, I believe that it isalso very important that we use thisday to begin to think of where we reallywant to be. If you look at the mindset of theaverage African, it is that of “I do not thinkAfrica would ever be there”. When youmove through the streets of almost all ourcapital cities across Africa, our youthbelieve that you can just not make it inAfrica -- You have to go beyond Africa. All these countries that have made itdid so because, right from the word go,and despite the difficulties, they put theirminds to it, they believe it is difficult butthey equally believe that they are capableof overcoming it. That is the only way. If you look at thetrend today, the most adventurous groupthat are supposed to help bring the hugechange are those that are leaving. This isbecause they can take risk, do something
new and be able to think outside the box-- They are rather those who are daringand crossing the Mediterranean andother seas to get to Europe and the UnitedStates of America, with the hope offinding a better life there. Mr Speaker, if we meet most of ourcompatriots from Africa, in most of thesecountries across the world, outsideAfrica, they work. What they are ready togo through to be able to get things donein those countries or continents, they arenot ready to put half of that in their ownhome countries or within Africa. Mr Speaker, there is the need for us, ifwe have to change this, to begin with thechange of mindset. Otherwise, it wouldcontinue to be a cycle and we wouldcontinue to hover in a cycle of povertysimply because we do not even believethat we would be able to get there. Mr Speaker, youth unemployment inAfrica is terrible. Yesterday, I was listeningto British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)and they were talking about Zambia andthe state of hopelessness among theyouth, when they interviewed them. Onewould not see that to be different fromthose of us who had the privilege of beingin Africa -- In South Africa, Accra,Lagos, Abuja or in other cities of Africa. Even though yesterday, they wereconcentrating on Zambia, the situationseems to be virtually the same. Mr Speaker, we would not be able tocreate meaningful employment for ouryouth when all of us continue to tastethings that are foreign. This is becausethen we would be creating the jobs onthe other side. Mr Speaker, there should be adeliberate effort in Africa to encourage usto eat what we grow; try to wear what we
Mr Speaker, when it comes to language,one would not believe it, that almost 50years after the AU was established, rightfrom OAU to AU now, we still speak thelanguage that was left us. I know it isdifficult but when we put our minds to it,we would definitely be able to developone or two other African languages. Mr Speaker, when we meet in the Pan-African Parliament, sometimes it is funny.We speak Arabic, English, French andPortuguese. The only African languageis Swahili and sometimes, when ourcompatriots from East Africa get-up tospeak it, there is no translation as if thatone, which is ours, is less important. So,there is translation for all other languagesbut there is none for Swahili. Mr Speaker, the interesting thing isthat, in East Africa, most of the populacecan speak Swahili. In West Africa, manypeople speak Hausa across. I wassurprised when in la Cote d'Ivoire, I meta number of people who were speakingfluent Twi. These are African languagesthat we have to deliberately develop. We can no longer say that we have anagenda 2063, without deliberate effort todevelop African languages in it. We wouldcontinue to communicate in otherpeople's languages. Mr Speaker, we say it is culture. Cultureis how we think, what we wear and whatwe eat. So long as we continue to speaksomebody's language, the most likelything is that, we would want to behavelike that person. By so doing, we wouldbe denying our children and grand-children of knowing the true Africanvalues.