For those of you who have been keeping an eye on global developments, you must be aware of the fact that Africa is in the womb of a new morning. The continent may have lost its past and may be struggling with its present, but one thing is clear, the future now seem brighter than ever.
Thanks to some of the outcome of this august body which has served as an inspiration to the continent’s new generation of leaders and emerging high fliers in every sector of the society. It is true that young people in some parts of Africa today face many different challenges and circumstances. These engender both hope and hopelessness among them, depending on their particular context and on available support, resources and opportunities.
Young people who are empowered easily find hope to imagine and create a good future for themselves – and in turn to empower other young people. That is the new story of Africa. While the continent’s yesterday was full of oddities and retrogression, its today is being carefully and slowly detached from an ossified yesterday to guarantee a brighter today and tomorrow. The theme of this year’s gathering is a testimony to and recognition of the tremendous strides of a new generation of African young men and women who are determined to change the narrative of the continent and recoup its collective conscience and consciousness.
Sometimes the overwhelming desire of our people for change makes me to reflect on what kind of future awaits them as well as ponder the enormity of the task ahead. How does Africa give jobs to its youths?
How do we reform our economy and make it work for every citizen? But then, the journey to self-actualisation both as individuals and as a people with a common destiny by African youths fills me with pride. Their realisation that for the continent to escape the economic danger and technological backwardness that is staring at them, they must pick up the gauntlet; as the solution lies squarely on their shoulders; is why we continue to appreciate this summit which has done a lot to create the necessary awareness and impetus for change and development.
Distinguished guests, I do not intend to take much of your time as I am confident that the positives and negatives of Africa’s current situation will be in focus for the next few days but as I welcome you to this year’s summit, what better testimony can there be than the realisation of my dream that in the near future, I would be in a position to stand and welcome you to a premiere summit in our small West African paradise of Sierra Leone.
In the meantime, what you see in Africa is a continent whose young men and women are reinventing the continent and harnessing its vast natural and human resources to the benefit of all. A generation, which is refusing to be cowed; or to shrink from its responsibility.
As we deliberate, let us realise that Africa’s battle cry is not yet heard but we are determined to see it through.
Once again I welcome you all to the opening ceremony of the 6th Commonwealth Africa Summit 2019 I sincerely hope you will enjoy today and the next few days of debate and networking.