The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and NEPAD, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has said Africa's development goals can be attained not through hand-outs but the proper behaviour of the citizenry, as well as governments.
He said that required strong and principled adherence to the values of democracy, respect for human rights, good governance and accountability, which would lead to the efficient use of national resources.
Nana Akufo-Addo said this at the flag- raising ceremony in commemoration of the 43rd Africa Day at the forecourt of the State House in Accra yesterday on the theme, “Working Together for Regional Integration and Development”.
As part of the celebration, the Foreign Affairs Minister raised the flag of Ghana, while the Dean of the African Diplomatic Corps and Mali's Ambassador to Ghana, Mr Mohammed Ben Labat, raised that of the African Union (AU).
Touching on this year's theme, Nana Akufo-Addo said it reflected the vision of members of the AU, which indicated that the continent's potential to become part of the developed and prosperous world might best be realised if member-states pooled their enormous human and material resources.
Addressing the gathering, which included ministers of state, Members of Parliament (MPs), members of the diplomatic corps, the clergy, personnel from the security agencies, chiefs, religious groups, students and the general public, the Foreign Minister said the time had come for the people of the continent to realise that “Africa is no longer a sleeping giant. It is awake!”
He observed that the challenge of the current generation of Africa was to redeem the promise of the continent as the cradle of civilisation and a land of prosperity for its peoples who had suffered for so long a time.
Nana Akufo-Addo said one of the key challenges facing the AU, which succeeded the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), had been to create a blueprint for the acceleration of economic development, with due emphasis on regional integration.
He added that the success of the regional integration programme would depend, to a large extent, on the training of the requisite human resource which would be equipped with the skills to handle multi-national projects to benefit the people.
“It will further require a change in mindset to engender acceptance of the strains on the traditional concept of what sovereignty entails,” he pointed out.
On the role Ghana played in search of peace in countries afflicted with wars and conflicts, Nana Akufo-Addo mentioned Ghana's peacekeeping efforts in Liberia, Sierra Leone, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Cote d'Ivoire, adding that “we believe it is in our own self-interest to help transform these conflict zones to 'comfort zones' where children no longer carry bullets to shoot but carry books to school”.
In a speech read on his behalf by the Dean of the African Diplomatic Corps, Mr Mohammed Ben Rabat, the Chairman of the AU, Mr Dennis Sassou-N'guesso, said the AU was born as the mark of the will of the African people to turn a page on which a wide patch of the continent's history was written in golden letters.
Mr Sassou-N'guesso, who is the President of the Republic of Congo, said in that way, the people would be enlightened on the heroic and multi-faceted struggles for the liberation of Africa from the yoke of colonialism and apartheid.
The AU Chairman called on the G8 nations to take Africa and its integration and development projects into account within the comprehensive concerns of global issues.
He touched on the need for governments to better the lives of the people, adding that the betterment of the lives of the population should involve health, especially with the view to eradicating pandemics such as HIV/IDS, malaria and tuberculosis (TB).