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Regional News of Saturday, 21 August 2021

Source: www.ghanaweb.com

2021 Africa Advancement Forum Summit held in Accra

A photo captured from the event A photo captured from the event

The Africa Advancement Forum an organization that creates a platform focusing on providing a space for the discussion of key prospects and strategies that aims to influence the growth and advancement of the continent, on Friday, August 20, 2021, held this year’s edition of its global summit in Accra.

The summit held at the Accra International Conference Center on the theme “The Africa We Want,” brought together captains of industries, academia, civil society and government officials as well as top African business personalities, start-ups, and entrepreneurs from a various sectors and disciplines to exchange ideas on how to develop the continent.

Delivering the opening address for the summit, the Founder of Justina Mutale Foundation, Ambassador Justina Mutale who is also part of the organizers, highlighted some of the things that exist as strength, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to developing Africa.

Among other things she spoke about the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), the need for a single passport for all Africans, improving the Global Image of Africa, diplomatic relations, leveraging on technology, developing and educating the youth as well as women empowerment

“While the rest of the world has an aging population, Africa has the largest and youngest population and about 70% or so of the population are below the age of 30. This is the population that is going to drive the world into the next millennia so we need to empower them. Empower them to have the clout, to have the energy, to have the agility, to have the power to move forward. We need to empower them with the right education, the right information, the right knowledge, tools and of course the right networks. This is where mentoring comes in,” she said.

On the need for Africa to shape its image and promote women empowerment, Ambassador Mutale noted that it is important for the African story to be told from an African perspective.

“It is hard for me to learn that Africa’s heroes are left out of the history books of our children and our children have to depend on movies such as ‘Wakanda’ which has fictional African superheroes and yet we have real African superheroes living among us.,” she stated.

The summit hosted a series of panel discussions which saw several astute and accomplished individuals contribute to various topics on Africa’s development.

The Vice President of Liberia, Her Excellency Jewel Taylor in contributing to a panel discussion on the topic ‘Powerful Women Leveraging Their Network to Develop Africa,’ stressed on the need for African women to be involved in decision making and policy formulation.

“What are we asking for? All that we are asking is equality. To be a part of the discussions that affect our lives whether in peace time or in war. Every decision that is made by the legislature and implemented by the executive, there is something that affects women whether it is education or whether it is access to water. When we went to villages, they still built wells at the end of the village. Women have to walk all the way from their home, sometimes 40 miles. But why, why are the men building the wells at the end of villages? They say that when women gather, they make noise and they gossip but do they know the harm they are putting their wives and their daughters into? People get raped, people get attacked and all sort of things. So it is important to get women in that space (leadership) because when decisions are being made, a woman looks at it from a totally different level,” she stressed.



On his part, the Managing Director of Metro TV Ghana,................ who also contributed to a panel discussion on the topic “Changing the Global Perception of Africa,” spoke about why Africa should re-present its image on the global scene and how the media can effectively contribute to such an agenda.

“Africa must fine a way of putting across its own message, telling the African stories from the African perspective. Like AY said, the name your call your child, if you name your child blessing everyone will call your child blessing. But if you name your child a thief everyone will call your child a thief. The way we have chosen to tell our own story is the way people will help us call. But the worst situation we have on our hands is we are not telling our story. We have to do that telling, nobody is going to tell it the way we want it. CNN and BBC, the perspective they are putting out there is not going to help us because it is not in their interest.



Other personalities who were on hand to contribute to the panel discussions included award-winning Nigerian comedian Ayodeji Richard Makun, also known by his stage name A.Y, Dr Linus Okorie of the COTNI Leadership Institute, Dr Ambassador Utchey Odims and Sara Nana Yeboah a nursing specialist who spoke passionately about the health sector in Africa.

Also present at the summit was the High Commissioner of Seirra Leone to Ghana, Burkina Faso and Togo, Her Excellency Virginia Henderson.



The 2021 Africa Advancement Forum Global Summit concluded with an Africa Business Forum later in the day where top African business personalities, start-ups, and entrepreneurs from a various sectors and disciplines met to discuss ideas as well as an Award Dinner Gala held in the evening at the Kempinski hotel in Accra.

Aside the salient ideas shared and exchanged, the Local Organising Committee of the summit say it has “added loads of cedis to Ghana's Tourism through the Global event by event dignitaries from around the world through the able leadership of Sara Danquah Yeboah, Head Local Organising Committee.”

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