Africa Needs Indigenous Investment, Not Foreign Aid -- Achebe Colloquium

By SaharaReporters, New York

The 4th edition of the annual Chinua Achebe Colloquium on Africa held at Brown University from December 7 to 9. The colloquium's coordinating committee has just issued a communique that focusing on issues of conflicts, investment, democratic growth and development in Africa.

The full text of the communique is reproduced below:
 The fourth edition of the Chinua Achebe Colloquium on Africa convened by Nigerian novelist and humanist Chinua Achebe, the David and Marianna Fisher University Professor and Professor of Africana Studies, was held at Brown University on December 7-8, 2012, at the Perry and Marty Granoff Center for the Creative Arts. With its theme as “Governance, Security and Peace in Africa,” the 2012 colloquium attracted leading experts from academia, business, non- governmental organizations, and governments from Africa, Europe and the United States. The Colloquium was well-attended by delegates who actively participated in two days of intense deliberation and exchange of ideas on the importance of strengthening democracy and peace on the African continent. The Colloquium featured panel discussions which highlighted the complex security issues that confront African nations, security challenges surrounding the proliferation of small arms and light weapons, homegrown terrorism, and the persistence of ethno-religious insurgency. The colloquium noted that these were serious concerns that challenge the establishment of institutions and principles of good governance on the continent.
Highlights  of  the  Colloquium  included  four  keynote  addresses  by  Dr.  Mohamed  Ibrahim, founder of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation for the promotion of good governance in Africa; Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola, the executive governor of Lagos State, Nigeria; General Carter F. Ham, Commander of the United States Africa Command (AFRICOM), based in Stuttgart, Germany; Ambassador Bisa Williams, U.S. ambassador to the Republic of Niger; Professor Emma Rothschild of Harvard University, and Dr. Mamphela Ramphele, South African anti-Apartheid activist and former managing director of the World Bank.
The Colloquium acknowledges the fact that the main driver of conflict in Africa is poverty originating from the failure of leadership and governance. Among the resolutions advanced at the Colloquium are:
1.   The Colloquium urges governments in Africa and bold private initiatives to work to grow additional,  dedicated  indigenous  investment  and  entrepreneurial  groups  rather  than depend largely on foreign aid. To paraphrase one of the keynote speakers, foreign aid is morphine; what is really needed in Africa is a dedicated and thorough operation to remove debilitating poverty that robs the people of their dignity and makes them vulnerable to the manipulation of corrupt, self-serving, and divisive leaders and warlords.
2.   The Colloquium calls on Africans at home and in the Diaspora, as well as members of the international community, to promote good governance in Africa by acknowledging the outstanding examples of remarkable African leaders such as Joaquim Alberto Chissano, former president of Mozambique, Pedro Verona Rodrigues Pires, former president of Cape Verde, and Festus Gontebanye Mogae, former president of Botswana. The Colloquium encourages African ruling parties in particular to respect three essentials to democratic governance:  an independent and credible election system, viable and vibrant political opposition, and free and rigorous civil society engagement in politics.
3. The Colloquium reviewed the strategic role of the United States Africa Command, AFRCOM, in relation to the role of African peacekeepers, and the success of the African Union Mission in certain flashpoints on the continent such as Somalia, Sudan, and Mali. The Colloquium welcomed the participation of AFRICOM Commander, General Carter Ham, in passionate debates on the role of the United States in African security, within an intellectual space dominated by scholars and diplomats from Africa. The Colloquium acknowledges the idea of ‘partnership’ between African states and the international community to maintain peace and democratic governance. However, the Colloquium believes that the international community should be wary of the unintended consequences of military support, such as training and arming ambitious elements and war mongers who disrupt democratic regimes and the rule of law in parts of the continent. More resources should be committed, instead, to developing education, technology, health care, agriculture, and basic infrastructure. The Colloquium recognizes AFRICOM’s efforts to collaborate with African governments in their fight against terror groups on the continent in particular, but cautions that any US military activities in Africa must be restrained, must reinforce African government efforts to seek peaceable solutions to their conflicts, must support democratic development, and should be sufficiently transparent and responsive to African civil society review and feedback.
4.   The Colloquium recognizes the teeming youth and children of Africa as the hope for a new cultural politics and for the development of the continent. The Colloquium encourages African governments to create opportunities for citizens, especially the youth, to freely express themselves. By ensuring openness in governance, transparency, and increasing  social  spaces  for  young  people  to  participate  in  the  democratic  process, African leaders could create a more conducive environment for politically negotiated settlements of conflict through dialogue instead of through arms. In thinking of mediation and resolution of conflicts, African leaders should not forget African traditional peacemaking as exemplified by the elders in Ethiopia.
5.  The Colloquium highlights the valuable and continuing roles of women in all African communities and countries and calls on all African governments to enhance and institutionally empower more women in leadership and government. The Colloquium agrees that the case-study of Moroccan feminism and Islamism presents a unique opportunity to interrogate the tremendous role that women played in both the Tunisian and Egyptian revolts in terms of a “movement moment”; the Colloquium further supports the  view  that  such  an  exposition  represents  an  example  of  the  Islamisation  of  the women’s movement in these countries, and urges scholars and policy makers to look more deeply at these trends.

6.  The Colloquium recognizes that the vestiges of race and racism do indeed continue to impact the progress that is being made in modern-day southern Africa. Race was the fault-line of the 20th century and will continue to be for some time to come, particularly in countries such as Angola, South Africa and Zimbabwe. This is manifested by the structures of the economies of these countries and the roles played by multinational companies. While the Colloquium acknowledges the injustices of the past created by race and racism, it is important for the current post-independence and liberation struggle heroes to take responsibility for their own shortcomings in addressing issues of economic disparity,  inequity  and  good  governance.  At  the  same  time  however,  there  are  still residual issues to be dealt with that were largely papered over by post-independence settlements,  for  example,  the  trauma  that  liberation  fighters  went  through  in  their struggles against colonialism. The Colloquium recommends that the next steps therefore are:
a)  Acknowledge the past and move on to deal with current issues b)  Focus on dealing with residual trauma in these societies
c)  Citizen engagement to hold leaders accountable for good governance.
7.  The Colloquium notes that the history of violence and wars in all countries is often contested, and calls for adequate attention to be paid to the task of preserving the continent’s memory. The Colloquium therefore encourages relevant institutions and authorities on the continent as well as the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to address this issue comprehensively by investing in, and promoting research and archiving of Africa’s history and cultural production. UNESCO and international donors could partner with one university in each of Africa’s five subregions in a pilot project to spur the development of research networks on this matter across the continent.
8.   The Colloquium celebrates the exponential growth of the artistic expressions of African youth via creative writing, music, film, and theatrical performances inside Africa and all over the world, and calls on African governments to demonstrate greater commitment to supporting the creative enterprise of African youth.
9.   The Colloquium calls on African governments to develop a Diaspora Engagement Plan to promote more robust ways of harvesting and leveraging the rich and diverse experience of Africans in the Diaspora.
10. The Colloquium notes Prof. Achebe’s particular commitment to Nigeria, and in that regard raises specific concerns that the current terrorist attacks and other increasing acts of violence across Nigeria reflect deeper socio-political inequities and pathologies. The Colloquium recognizes in particular the significance of Prof. Achebe's recent book on Biafra (There Was A Country) and the much-needed debate that it has sparked, not only about the war, but about the scars it left on southeastern Nigerians (and the areas which constituted the Republic of Biafra) that remain unaddressed 45 years after the start of the war in 1967. The Colloquium notes that these scars also have detrimental effects on the entire country.

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Feeble and myopic minds will be wondering the legacy you left for us. Don't mind; we all know that your legacy of truthfulness is unequalled; that of telling the outside world of our beautiful culture and tradition is still fresh and being our greatest ambassador in diaspora is golden to us! Aka ekpuchi onwa! Mere gawa. Onye asiri jide ka oji I mara na o na-eme nke oma. Merry Christmas Pa Achebe and may you live Longer- Isee!

what about lady gaga okey ndibe and his brothers dance band

@Akpos, you mean Bakare, tundemess, Tinubu, SNG, Prof Pius of no fixed address in Canada, hardly ever responds to the ongoing killings by Boko haram in the Fulani North? Instead worries their empty souls about the politically induced gaffs of brother Jonah? See the main plan by Boko haram and Buhari is to ensure that Fulanis are installed as governors in all the 19 Northern states. Them want to control from Mali, to Kwara and Borno. By extension the entire south east and west-the fulani cow hands are everywhere in the South-they are like soldiers of occupation-killing with impunity while the regional elites from the South are being settled to chase Jonah away from Aso Rock-BH backers now calls him none performing president-but refer to Buhari ati IBB, as the best 9ja ever had! Let my people in d SS go biko! Jona is not the problem-the fault lies in our piggish regional souls of old!

Who care what this Biafran says.....

This is a Nigerian website....we don't need this senile Biafran fool talking rubbish here...he should go to morons and senile old fools are there to keep Cima Akebe of whatever his stupid mother called him at birth...

Achebe...Great Man!

I did not bother to read what you have written bcos I know it shud be correct.

...The Yoruba's hate to hear your voice but hide to read your books.

...A thousand Yorubas will respond & write rejoinders upon rejoinders in response to your comments about the Ibo nation & your candid views about the Yoruba god & grand father of ethnic politics in Nigeria, but they (The Yoruba) will not respond when BH bombs their community in Kogi or kill their 2 Professors & students in a BUK church & elsewhere. Why? .... for the same reason that a descendant of Usman Dan Fodio is the King(Emir)in the Yoruba ancestral land of Illorin. SHAME!

Why won't BH be arrogant afterall? They think all countries in Nigeria are innately docile & cowardly as the noise makers & traitors from the West country.

Achebe my Achebe, may your days be merry. Merry Xmas to you.

Verily verily I say unto you, Nigeria is not a country but a continent. Break up NOW!

Long live the United States of the SS&SE


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For Better For Worse

The relationship between the investment of true colour of Humanism and selfishness has base upon frustration our cultural herritage eg lack of religious tolerance, Ethnic sentment, and above all dusting westen culture with natural endogenous African culture. Epenthesis of true Africana must be taken with feeling of belongness.

alot has been said .......

Achebe alot has been said about this but our leaders always turns a deaf ears to this .They are not willing to change for their usual acts.They rather depends on hand out from their colonial masters and each is finish,they open their hands again.