The International Leadership Institute in collaboration with International Alert yesterday organized a day-long seminar with a theme: ”Pan-Africanism in the eyes of Ethiopians.”
Professor Mekonnen Haddis, the 50th Year African Union Golden Jubilee Anniversary Secretariat Office Head, said that Pan-Africanism will continue fostering economic integration.
He said that the value and importance of Pan-Africanism to the 21st century youth has to do with economic progress, democracy and transparency. “The organization of African Union was formed based on the idea of decolonization and anti-apartheid movement . And the Organization of African Unity, governments and people have successfully gotten rid off colonialism and apartheid from Africa. Now, the struggle is for economic freedom and integration,” he added.
According to him, the youth has to focus on economy; how to better living conditions to citizens of Africa; how to benefit from the economic progress of the continent where seven out of 10 of the countries in the world that are really progressing economically are in Africa. “ Hence, the focus for the youth should be economic integration, improvement for the masses of the African people and at the same time transparency and democracy.”
He also said: “Historically, Ethiopia has been really the guiding light of Pan-Africanism. Not only have people of black colour but also those who have struggled for freedom and independence elsewhere have seen Ethiopia to be the guiding light of freedom. This shall continue in terms of economic progress within Africa. Ethiopia is going through tremendous economic progress in the continent. This should also be a guiding light for the rest of Africa.”
According to him, Pan-Africanism is the term and philosophy used in unity. “And African Renaissance also has to be based on unity. Everything that progresses Africa as a people and a continent has to be all rounded in terms of social, economic and political affairs. African renaissance is also tied with Pan-Africanism because Africa would be totally free and economically independent. Whenever you do in unison, you are talking about Pan-Africanism. The original mandate of Pan-Africanism has been accomplished . Now what we have to accomplish is the economic integration, economic independence and transparency for the rest of Africa and I have no doubt it would be done.”
Youth Activist, Eyob Balcha also told this reporter that the main purpose of organizing this seminar is to raise public awareness of Ethiopians about the issues of Pan-Africanism within the Ethiopian historical context by emphasizing the particular role that Ethiopia has played so far.
He also said that Pan-Africanism doesn’t have a single perspective rather it changes along the historical lines. “In the past, it was mainly located on the issues of racial equality, abolishing colonialism and the like. In the recent years, Pan-Africanism is mainly related to the issues of democracy, freedom, equality and development. So, it is all about knowing the main reason that why we are in such a position of not having aspired developmental position. It will help particularly the youth know its past history and its position within the global context and to inform its ideological lines along creating solidarity and brotherhood and fraternity among African youth in particular and also African people in general. It can be used as a glue that unite African youths irrespective of their racial and religious background,”he added.