You are on page 1of 4

"To the New Africa" In Whose Terms?

On the 5th August during the ,US Africa Leaders Summit dinner United States President proposed a
toast to the " New Africa". At first, those words sounded prophetically exciting but a probe of what they
exactly mean to different people, including President Obama , his invited guests ( the African Heads of
State) Africans in the diaspora and Africans in Africa raises questions of concern.
Four African Leaders were not invited to the Summit. President Mugabe of Zimbabwe, Omar El Bashir of
Sudan, Isaiah Afewerki of Eritrea and the leader of African Republic , reasons? They have bad record of
human rights violations. But equally disturbing is that some of the African leaders who were present
were never elected democratically in a free and fair elections but seized power in bloody coups and
have some of the worst human rights violation records.
Old dogs, cannot usher in new Africa
One such leader is Burkina Faso's President Blaise Compaore, his government is accused of brutality and
corruption. The pompous President Yahya Jammeh of Gambia, has a record of violating basic human
rights he vowed to behead any known homosexuals in his country. Others include Equatorial Guinea
president Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, Africas longest serving dictator who has jailed all his
political opponents, and ripped his oil rich country, by amassing personal wealth of over $600 million.
President Good Luck Jonathan who signed anti gay law, Yoweri Museveni of Uganda who can't tolerate
the opposition and also earlier signed the anti gay law, Paul Kagame, Rwandas increasingly
authoritarian president, Paul Kagame accused of assassinating adversaries and stifling opposition
We must question truly if these kind of leaders in Africa can usher in the " New Africa". The United
States a human rights defender, Played a double standards by inviting some Human rights offenders and
corrupt leaders, and leaving out others.
And why is he ( Teodoro Obiang Nguema) included among the leaders selected as being in good
standing with the US government, rather than being excluded like the heads of Zimbabwe, Eritrea and

AU's commission chairlady Dr Nkoszana Dlamini Zuma had a very strong message to America " if you
don't come to the party, eventually the party will happen without you" strong message? Sounds like. Dr
Zuma is the custodian of Africa most noble vision announced last year " Agenda 2063". The African
Union vision is on " Integrated, prosperous and Peaceful Africa". Agenda 2063 is a Vision and an action
plan containing the approach on how Africa will exploit all possible opportunities to ensure
socioeconomic transformation within the next 50 years. We would like to believe that Barack Obama is
toasting to the "new Africa" we Africans have envisioned and set out already to establish. And not
another new " Africa" which means more billions of illicit financial outflow from Africa annually,

109677.html#ixzz3A1I8vSfq )
(annually over 60 billion dollars flow out of Africa, to developed countries in the form of illicit capital)
and unfair trade agreements sending all the profits back to The West.
What Africans want addressed most. (new Africa according to Africans )
Prior to the US Africa Summit, a survey conducted by ONE Campaign in Africa listed Africans top
concerns these being education, Jobs, and Security. Over 90% of Africans do not believe their leaders
are best addressing these concerns. It is therefore correct to assert the " new Africa" to the ordinary
citizens means broader access to education Job creation, security, health, accountability, transparency,
these points will be addressed at the end of this note.
The Afrobarometer 2011 & 2012 survey from 34 African countries lists 10 issues that Africans felt
needed to be addressed. 1. Unemployment 2. Health supply 3. Water supply 4. Poverty 5. Infrastructure
6. Education 7. Food shortage 8. Security 9. Electricity 9. Management of economy. 1
African governments MUST provide our citizens the opportunity to achieve their dreams. Africa's
leadership must strive to uplift the lot of her people. Economic and social transformation is a
prerequisite condition. Democratic studies show " the higher the level of human development the
higher the percentage of democracies, the more we'll to do a country is the greater the chance of it
being a democracy. With every step up the ladder of human development, a higher percentage of
countries are democracies".
Security is a pressing issue of concern in Africa with Boko Haram terrorizing west of Africa and Al
Shabaab terrorizing the East of Africa. President good luck Jonathan said nothing regarding the situation
of the kidnapped girls, his silence is shocking and displays the attitude of most African leaders of burying
their head in the sand like the proverbial ostrich when the house is on fire. Obama announced a security
cooperation to meet common threats, such as terrorism and human trafficking through the new Security
Governance Initiative. But terrorism can be defeated if leaders afforded better living conditions for all.
Studies show terrorism thrives where states have failed. It's not just new initiatives such as these are
needed but grassroots addressing of common concerns ( mentioned earlier) by the ordinary citizens.
The Summit has been criticized by some labeling it as just another subtle glamorous competitive event
aimed at safeguarding some " national interests" or a bribe to the African Chiefs to slow down on
China's advance in Africa. It is possible to question the real agenda of the summit, because it appeared
imbalanced by not including stakeholders such as the civil society leaders and Non-governmental
organizations. The new Africa as defined by Agenda 2063 will be the work of all stakeholders, the
executive, the civil society, women and the youth of Africa.
The New Africa must first address the issue of good LEADERSHIP.
The problem facing Africa today is not under development but under management, Africa is not poor,
but poorly managed! African development bank report estimates that Africa has 120bn barrels of oil
reserves, no less than half of Saudi Arabia and 600 million hectares of un cultivated arable land half of
the world total.

It is right therefore to conclude "What Africa needs at this critical time is good Leadership! Value based
leadership" .
Leadership that has been well nurtured is the only leadership that can direct socio-economic
development and can zeal to tackle the myriad of problems that face the continent in prioritized order.
In the dawn of the African Renaissance (the Rebirth if Africa) we want clean, honest, transparent and
people centered leadership period.

The social ills plaguing our continent, the brain drain, loss of our scientists, engineers and doctors, our
neglected education system upon which a thriving economy begins, hunger and preventable diseases
such as Malaria can be eradicated, they can be solved, but it is clear these challenges will not be solved
by "leaders who use the state apparatus to silence voices of dissent, attack members of different ethnic
groups perpetuating widespread violence through politics of ethnicity, those who prefer mediocrity at
the expense of merit; love to be hero worshipped, looters and plunderers, leaders who mistake personal
for national interest characterized by senseless extravagance and conspicuous consumption and certain
tendencies toward celebrations and leisure at the expense of productive activities and of course,
masters of politics of patronage" Africans wants to determine who governs them and for how long.

To the new Africa without good leadership is to the new Africa that's unprepared to usher in the rebirth
of the continent.
Africa's emerging leaders lack proper MENTORSHIP to nurture their abilities. Just recently during the
Washington fellows Young Africa's leaders summit, Former President Daniel Arap Moi of Kenya
questioned the real intention behind Obama's Young African leaders MENTORSHIP initiative. Among the
issues retired President questioned were the criteria used for selection, the subjects taught and most
disturbing " who are these young leaders" it is right to claim that Africa's senior leadership most
important the executive has for ages neglected the young leadership. The question " who are these
young leaders" can be construed to mean "we have never heard of you" but it is mostly because the
Africa Youth is not afforded the necessary space to grow and tap into the wealth of the wisdom coming
from the old leadership. A great deal of mistrust still exists between these two generations.
My mentor and Patron H.E. Thabo Mbeki quoting the President of the Pan African Youth Union, Mr. Ben

Vusi Gumede, PhD, Professor and Head of the Thabo Mbeki African Leadership institute, Inaugural Professorial
ON INCLUSIVE GOVERNANCE in Nairobi acknowledged the existence of the problem between the young
and old leaders.
"the previous and older generation will act in such a manner that it will insist that its view about the
future of our countries must prevail, consistent with its contribution to the historical evolution of our
countries and Continent"
Thabo Mbeki reiterates the Youth is a vital force of society. We need a paradigm shift: Young people
must be given opportunities to be exposed and to obtain professional experience. We are at the
forefront of changing Africa and the world"
African retired Presidents are the best mentors to us Young Africa Leaders, rather than chose to die with
all the wealth they have, they can establish their own MENTORSHIP initiatives and invest in the next
generation of African young leadership for the renewal of Africa.
New generations of leaders will not mushroom naturally, leadership development cannot be left to
chance it requires a deliberate efforts.

K.D. Maxwell is a student of Thabo Mbeki African Leadership Institute, (TMALI) South Africa.