Accra, Dec. 19, GNA - Africa needs to develop into a knowledge-based society to enable her to succeed in the 21st century and reach her true potential, Sir Sam Jonah, Former President of Anglogold Ashanti Limited, said on Saturday.
He said the quest could only be possible when more Africans could engage in higher education. Public universities must, therefore, grow to accommodate the children while private institutions provided competition and spurred innovation.
Speaking at the first graduation ceremony of Ashesi University, a private university in Ghana offering bachelors degree programme in Computer Science and Business Administration, Sir Jonah said it was such higher knowledge acquisition that had helped South Korea, which was slightly poorer than Ghana in 1957, to succeed economically. "The ability to develop a core base of knowledge across a broad spectrum of disciplines is crucial in today's world, and especially so in Africa where our most difficult problems can only be solved by applying knowledge from the intersection between various disciplines" Sir Jonah indicated.
Twenty students were awarded Bachelor of Science degrees while Sir Jonah was also awarded with an Honorary Doctor of Humanities in recognition of his contributions to the Ghanaian society. Sir Jonah advised the graduates to live with humility, modesty and a recognition that Ashesi was just the beginning of a life-long process of learning, urging them to become agents of positive change in their chosen disciplines so that they could lead Africa to a future with widespread political stability, rapid growth and meaningful cooperation among nations.
He also asked them to depict good citizenship by always seeking to do their part to uplift the situation of their fellow citizens and not being self-centred. "That, to me, is what it means to be a good citizen..."
Dr Patrick Awuah, President of the University said the institution represented a vision of peaceful and prosperous Africa with a people imbued with the freedom to seek what was true and to live more excellent lives.
According to him, Africa's problem had largely been a result of acts of past leaders, who instead of being the guardians, had overseen the Continent's decline by acts of commission and omissions, including corruption, wars, human rights abuses and poorly conceived economic polices and failure to build effective health and democratic governance systems.
Dr Awuah said Ashesi was, therefore, established five years ago to help to change the world by training a new generation of enlightened leaders in Africa, who would work for the good of society.
Mr Matthew Taggart, Associate Director of Development, Ashesi University, later in an interview with the GNA said the institute, which started with 30 students had 245 students but faced a lot of financial challenges since it was currently in a rented apartment.
He, however, said the school had acquired 40.5 hectares at Berekuso between Accra and Aburi in the Eastern Region, which it intended to develop into a school complex in the future.