Listening to the discussions in the ongoing African Economic Conference taking place in Kigali, one had the proud and satisfying feeling that Africa will no longer accept to be relegated to the minor league; it merits its sit at the table of the big boys.
One wonders why the continent wallowed in a lethargic slumber for decades, and only used to wake up when it was time to extend a begging bowl towards a patronizing donor community whose own economies are fed by the so-called 'Third World' resources.
That was then. Today, a new crop of African leaders are championing the cause of self-reliance coupled with African dignity. They urge their nationals to tread where post-colonial leaders feared; taking the donors' bull by the horns and demanding that their interests be taken into consideration and not vice versa.
They demand respect and a level playing field for all. As the saying goes; if you do not respect yourself, no one will. If you do not put your own house in order, do not expect your distant neighbor to do it for you. That is why, today, home grown solutions to domestic problems are the keys that open the doors to prosperity.
It is time to tell the self-righteous section of the international community; that Africa is an awakening giant and throwing the spanner in the works will not halt the engine, but will spur it to shift into an even higher gear.