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xxxxxxxxxxx of Monday, 22 August 2016


Otumfuo, Soyinka share optimism about Africa

The Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II has expressed an optimistic view of Africa’s ability to overcome obstacles that would lead to better democratic outcomes and engineer economic transformation of the continent.

The democratic change of governments through “constitutional means of which election is the means and not the end, has created a big space for peace and security of nations.”

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He told an audience that included Members of both Houses of the British Parliament, the diplomatic community, faculty of universities and a selected number of Ghanaians including the former President of Ghana, John Agyekum Kufuor at Westminster, London as he spoke on the topic, Africa’s Democratic Path and the Search for Economic Transformation.

The Asantehene explained that stability and planning for development predicated by 16 presidential and parliamentary elections in Africa alone this year was an encouraging step of consolidating peace.

Whilst expressing some optimism citing development data from Africa’s own think tanks which he said had come of age as seen in their input leading to policy enrichment, outreach programmes and sensitization, safe-guarding electoral processes with the emergence of reforms in telecommunication and associated multi-media, he spoke of how they have created a knowledge-based economy that did not exist in many parts of Africa two decades ago.

These benefits and new ways, he elucidated, should however lead to adjustment in thinking and a strategy of less dependence on multi-donor budget support and financing of electoral reforms and institutions as they are not permanent fixtures.

“Though the journey to development is on course, the challenges could be daunting,” dwelling on the uncertainties South Sudan finds itself.

Otumfuo Osei Tutu referred also to infractions of politicians and their surrogates whether in Kenya, where some members of their Parliament had to be arrested by the police for ethnic incitement or in Ghana where radio presenters threatened murder of the Lady Chief Justice and some members of the judiciary.

Lord Paul Boateng of the House of Lords and of Ghanaian descent praised the Asantehene for his traditional leadership which fits finely into modernity and in particular his focus on education and agriculture. Unfortunately, he said, Africa’s agriculture is suffering from all fronts, a situation which affects millions of dependants.

The event was also a literary fanfare which saw the launch of two books- May Their Shadows Never Shrink- Wole Soyinka and the Oxford Professorship of Poetry edited by Ivor Agyeman-Duah, a Ghanaian author and Lucy Newlyn, a professor of English Language and Literature at the University of Oxford and All the Good Things Around Us- An Anthology of African Short Stories also edited by Agyeman-Duah.