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22.03.2007 General News

Stop ‘Begging Bowl’ Syndrome

Stop ‘Begging Bowl’ Syndrome

A distinguished academic, Professor S.K.B. Asante, has urged African countries to abandon the “begging bowl” concept of development and endeavour to be self-reliant and self-sustaining.

He said it was only through that shift that the continent could lift itself out of the economic quagmire.

Prof. Asante was speaking on the topic; “Ghana: An advocate of Pan-Africanism as an integrative force and as a movement of liberation”, on the second day of the J.B. Danquah Memorial Lectures in Accra on Tuesday.

The lectures were instituted in 1968 in memory of Dr J.B. Danquah, a foundation member of the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences (GAAS), who died in prison in 1965.

Dr Danquah, described as the doyen of Gold Coast politics, was a lawyer, philosopher, scholar, novelist, dramatist and journalist.

Prof. Asante, who is also a member of the Local Governing Council of the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), said Africa could generate the “requirements” of economic development on the continent and that what was required most to attain it was discipline.

“We must change the economic and governance destiny of our continent. We must have a united political and socio-economic approach to deal with our problems,” he said.

Recounting the role of Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah and Ghana in the Pan-Africanist struggle, he said events in Africa had fully demonstrated the need for African unity.

He paid tribute to Dr Nkrumah for championing African unity and the concept of the African Personality and said although he was opposed by the likes of Mwalimu Julius Nyerere, when he espoused the idea, he (Nyerere) many years later became a champion and apostle of Nkrumah's unity stance.

That, he said, demonstrated the foresight of Nkrumah's political leadership.

Prof. Asante described the period 1950-1965 as the age of Nkrumah, adding that by words and action, he mobilised African leaders and people for the Pan-Africanist cause and brought Pan-Africanism to the African soil.

While many African leaders paid lip-service to Pan-Africanism, he said, Nkrumah worked for it and gave impetus to it.

Prof. Asante noted that the ideas put forth by Nkrumah in the 1950s and 1960s had resurfaced in various forms today.

He said continental integration which never had a chance at the 1963 Addis Ababa Summit of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), was reflected in the 1980 Lagos Plan of Action and the Final Act of Lagos, which called for the establishment of an African common market leading to an African economic community.

Nkrumah's dream, he added, was also translated into reality with the establishment, in June 1991, of the African Economic Community.

“The transformation of the OAU, in 2001, into an African Union with economic, political and social objectives is indeed a revival of the Pan-African and continental economic and political integration dream of Kwame Nkrumah.

The call for a standing AU force reminds us of the call for an African High Command by Nkrumah,” he added.

Story by Mark-Anthony Vinorkor

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