29 November 2012

Africa: 'Mo Ibrahim Foundation Dakar Forum, a Success'

The recent Mo Ibrahim Foundation Dakar Forum that focused on the theme, 'African youth; fulfilling the potential', as well as the media, has been described as a success by Gambian participants to the high level convergence that brought together leaders and people from all walks of life.

The theme for the forum particularly impressed the participants, in that Africa is the only continent with a significantly growing youth population, and that in less than three generations, 41% of the world's youth will be Africans; with the continent's labour force projected to be larger than China by 2035.

As a result, questions such as how do we ensure that Africa benefits from this imminent demographic dividend? How do we ensure that African youth will compete at the global level not only due to sheer numbers? What is the future that we are creating for our most precious resource? Were the ones tackled by panelists at the Forum.

One Gambian who took part in the proceedings of the forum was Oko Drammeh, an international music producer, promoter, song writer, and columnist. He described the high-level convergence as meaningful and important to the continent. "My presence in Dakar was to extend the activity to The Gambia because of the significance of the theme of the conference. The conference was inaugurated by the Senegalese Tourism minister, Youssou Ndour, with a reception and music performances by Angelique Kidjo from Benin, Baba Maal among others," Drammeh disclosed.

The occasion, he said,was also graced by Arch Bishop Desmond Tutu; former Nigerian president, Olusegun Obasanjo; and former President Chissano of Mozambique. "I had the courtesy to meet Mr. Mo Ibrahim and discussed youth participation in Africa's sustainable opportunities for young people," he told the Daily Observer.

Drammeh further informed that he also took part in another conference which was moderated by Mo Ibrahim, in which the Senegalese president, Macky Sall, was the guest speaker. He said Sall faced the African press on matters affecting African media, journalists and leadership. "I am hoping that one day this conference will come to The Gambia and highlight our country's efforts in embracing Africanunity, peace and responsible journalism," he concluded.

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