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Ezekwesili, others proffer solution to challenges hurting Africa’s progress

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To overcome developmental challenges confronting African countries, stakeholders have charged leadership of underdeveloped countries in the continent to rally and decide on the type of economic philosophy they desire, since right economic decision is critical to achieving developmental goals.

They observed that many African countries are still grappling with poor governance, insecurity, economic downturns, poverty, unemployment, illiteracy, high mortality rate and poor living standards, bemoaning that efforts to redress these challenges have always failed.

Speaking at a two-day international Pan-African conference, organised by Chrisland University, Abeokuta, Ogun State, with the theme, ‘Challenges of Growth and Sustainable Development in Africa,’ chaired by a former vice president of Liberia, Joseph Boakai, the Keynote Speaker and former minister of Education, Dr. Oby Ezekwesili, told the audience that leaders in the continent must make right economic choices and build strong institutions to achieve sustainable development.

Explaining that economic growth and economic development should not be mistaken for each other, she said: “Economic growth shows the path for the growth of a nation, while economic development highlights the impact of economic growth on every unit of the society. It illustrates how the economic growth of a nation is impacting the citizenry, in terms of education, standard of living, adequate security and access to basic infrastructures among others.

“The fastest way to peace is through economic development, so it is important for us, as Africans, to determine the economic philosophy and structure we want to pursue, which must go beyond political interest. Therefore, we need to build strong institutions to achieve sustainable development in the continent.”Echoing Ezekwesili’s view, Boakai said deliberate effort must be made to bring solutions to the continent’s challenges, urging leaders to show great commitment and avoid quick fixes.

“Almost all African states are vulnerable, at varying degrees, to bad governance, poor infrastructure and weak or non-existent preparedness systems, which can strike a crushing blow to countries and leave chaos and upheaval in the wake of man-made and natural disasters.

“We should, therefore, entertain no illusion by reliance on quick fixes and partial solutions,” counselled.Vice Chancellor of the university, Prof Chinedum Peace Babalola, had earlier in her welcoming remarks, stated that the conference was part of the university’s commitment to foster quality education and promote ideas towards a truly ideal African society and to find solutions to challenges faced by African countries, which have perpetually placed them below their Asian, American and European counterparts.

“It is unarguable that the African continent is still grappling with underdevelopment. As much as researchers have been endlessly attempting to fashion out the ways to ameliorate or eradicate these problems, many similar or other problems continue to rear their ugly heads.

“I believe strongly that as Africans, it is not only that we can find solutions to our problems, but we will.”The event was also attended by the Founder and Chairman of Chrisland University, Chief Winifred Awosika, and Executive Secretary, International Centre for Research and Documentation on African Traditions and Languages, Prof. Charles Bikoi, among other dignitaries within and outside the country.


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Oby Ezekwesili
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