The Vice-President, Alhaji Aliu Mahama, yesterday blamed leadership failure in Africa for the continent's inability to bring the people out of poverty and deprivation.
“We, therefore, need to take a cue from this and constantly remind ourselves that if we are to chart a path which will bring prosperity and a brighter tomorrow to our people, then we must have the political will, determination and commitment to do nothing less than what improves their welfare,” he said.
Opening an African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) conference in Accra, the Vice-President noted that the APRM would be an exercise in self deceit if challenges on the continent were not confronted.
On the theme, “Africa's bold march to capture the 21st century — the role of the APRM”, the conference was attended by representatives from 20 African countries with the aim of taking a common position on international matters at different fora.
The Vice-President said the establishment of the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) had led to positive changes on the continent.
He mentioned some of the achievements as intolerance of unconstitutional changes of government, recognition of private and civil society groups as partners in development and African leaders' intervention and facilitating role in peaceful political transition in countries.
The Vice-President, who described the changes as "a representation of a paradigm shift", said Africa was shedding the old image of a continent where leadership concern was on how to retain power, remain in office for life and preside over corruption, maladministration and socio-economic deprivation of the people.
He said these contributed to the fuelling of needless conflicts, wars and anarchy and aggravated poverty and underdevelopment.
The Vice-President underscored the need to pursue the principles of respect for human rights, the rule of law, an articulate civil society and accountable and responsible governments.
He stressed the need to move away from donor and recipient relationships to a partnership based on mutual interdependence and expressed the hope that the positive changes on the continent would signal the preparedness of African leaders to put their houses in order.
A Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Regional Co-operation and NEPAD, Ms Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, said NEPAD principles were gaining momentum, adding that NEPAD was a potent mechanism to deepen democratic governance in Africa.
According to Ms Botchwey, the APRM would only succeed if Africans were empowered with knowledge which would enable them to elect governments which were free, energised and enterprising.
The German Ambassador to Ghana, Mr Peter Linder, announced that the Executive Secretary of the APRM National Governing Council, Dr Francis Appiah, had won the German-African Award for this year.
He said the award prize would be presented to Dr Appiah by the German Chancellor later in the year.
Dr Appiah was born on September 4, 1956 and was educated at the University of Ghana and subsequently had his PhD in Administration and Organisational Science at the University of Bergen, Norway.
A member of the African Peer Review Panel of Eminent Persons, Dr Chris Stals, called for continuous introspection on the APRM in order to learn from inefficiencies.
Dr Stals, together with the German Ambassador and Dr Rainer Gepperth, the Director of the Institute for International Contact and Co-operation, Hanns Seidel Foundation, commended Ghana for subjecting itself as the first country to be peer reviewed under the APRM in 2005.
The Chairman of the National APRM Governing Council, Professor S. K. Adjepong, said the APRM was an attempt to address governance challenges in Africa.
Story by E. Kojo Kwarteng