Africa can deal with the outside world on an equal footing when there is a clear roadmap for the political and economic integration of the continent, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has observed.
Addressing the 60th anniversary of the All Africa People's Conference in Accra last Saturday, the President said Africans could exploit the continent's vast potential and wealth if the issue of integration was considered seriously.
The All Africa People's Conference was formed 60 years ago, with the maiden edition in Ghana, to, among other things; join the struggle for the de-colonisation and liberalisation of the continent.
The maiden edition brought together under one roof, famous nationalist leaders of that time, including Julius Nyerere, Patrice Lumumba, Odinga Odinga, Kenneth Kauda, Tom Mboya, Hastings Banda, and Holden Roberto, among others.
President Akufo-Addo said 60 years on, though the vision of an Africa free from colonialism, which was the main object of the conference, had been effectively realised, the promoters of the conference wanted more than just the dream of political freedom and independence.
"The promise, implicit in the drive for liberation, was that freedom would inspire the rapid enhancement of the quality of life of the African people, and banish the spectre of mass poverty bequeathed to us by the long period of colonial exploitation."
"Alas, that has not happened for a variety of reasons, some of which do not do us credit. Be that as it may, our generation has an opportunity to rededicate ourselves towards attaining the twin goals of guaranteeing the liberties and freedoms of the African peoples and eradicating mass poverty in Africa," he said.
For poverty to be eradicated from the continent, President Akufo-Addo said countries must make significant investments in education at all levels and structural transformation of the continent's raw material producing and exporting companies into industrial, value-adding economies that could trade in products in the global marketplace
"I am an incurable optimist, and believe in our capacity to reach these goals. And, in doing so, I am comforted by the words, again, of Kwame Nkrumah, when he said: "Africa could become one of the greatest forces for good in the world... built not on fear, envy and suspicion, nor won at the expense of others, but founded on hope, trust, friendship and directed to the good of all mankind."
"I am confident that we can achieve this Africa, which our forefathers dreamt of, and for which some paid the ultimate sacrifice, if we work together. We can do it," President Akufo-Addo said.