By Malise Otoo
Kigali, Rwanda - Scores of people trooped to the RPF-Inkotanyi Conference Center for the celebration of the 30th Anniversary of the Rwandan Patriotic Front with a hope to change the narrative about liberation and economic transformation in Africa.
Speaking during the conference, H.E Benjamin Mkapa, Former President, Tanzania reiterated the need for African leaders to reassure their people of true self-reliance and identity while thriving together to change the narrative.
He said," I'm hoping the ambition of relocating to Europe will be replaced by an aspiration to relocating to Africa".
However, he admitted that the Developed countries Architecture do not allow for Regional Integration.
He was similarly emphatic that a serious livestock market policy was important in the East African bloc especially to control free movement of animals and border control.
H.E. Benjamin Mkapa recognized that in other for Africa to move away from the narrative of being poor it was necessary to have clear nationalities, saying that the thing that produces results is identity and people of dignity.
On his part, Andrew Mwenda, Journalist and Managing Director, Independent Magazine, Uganda stressed that public institutions perform better in Rwanda even than in Kenya or Uganda.
"Self-reliance, identity and self-discipline are pillars which I believe can make Africa grow, transform and develop".
Furthermore, Dr.Jendayi Frazer, former US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs,Bureau of African Affairs argued that it's it's extremely important that we distinguish between growth and transformation.
According to her, Africans development must move with changes in global trends and Affairs.
"Accountability, good governance and inclusion is what Africa needs to develop", she said.
In a sharp contrast, Dr. Frazer identified certain challenges that she forsee may hinder such progress including the question of state building, question of inclusion, question of overcoming trade barriers, among others."The question of idealization must be put at the back burner", she pointed.
Self awareness, self-determination and hoe Africa can use global changes to advance it's course are clear ways to unify the continent.
It has therefore become obvious that countries must be prepared to reduce aid and that aid if necessary must be connected to a collective self-realization.
Africa according to her has a challenge of inequality in the world, challenge of sound cohesion and ecological sustainability and these must be addressed by African leaders.
Lastly, James Mwangi, Executive Director, Dalberg Group, Kenya also stipulated the need to for Africa to embrace technology and innovation saying, "you cannot solve your immediate challenges with 14th century solutions".
He stated that African leaders must lower the barriers of thinking big.
The conference was under the theme, "Liberalization and transformation: Realizing a dignified and prosperous Africa".