President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has urged African leaders to follow the example of Ghana's Free Senior High School Education Policy to drastically reduce illiteracy on the continent.He noted that the policy would enable the African child to receive better education for increased knowledge to contribute meaningfully to Africa's development saying that “Africa must not perish for lack of knowledge”.
“Our young people are desperately looking for jobs and we must not fail them. We need to direct their attention through education that provides them with skills for entrepreneurship” he said.
President Akufo-Addo made the call in a speech read on his behalf by Mr Paul Essien, Deputy Minister of Chieftaincy and Religious Affairs at the opening of the fourth African Forum on Religion and Governance (AFREG) conference at Elmina on Tuesday.
The four-day conference on the theme “Africans rising together - Reconciliation and Reconstruction” is being attended by Christian African leaders and Africans from the Diaspora with the common goal of working towards reconciliation and reconstruction for a better future for Africa.
President Akufo-Addo stressed that Africa must rise up tall to educate its younger generation through science and technology and liberate itself through hard work.
He expressed the conviction that education could help the continent to be truly independent and free to create wealth and develop beyond aid and desist from borrowing and begging for help.
He said Africa was well endowed with both human and natural resources that had great potentials and capability to feed itself through hard work and therefore African leaders of today could not afford to fail the continent.
President Akufo-Addo re-echoed the need for Africa to come together as one people to create avenues that would make its regional integration strong and more meaningful.
The President also called on the church to help government to educate and instill in the youth dignity and hard work and provide them with the relevant skills to contribute their quota and support the government's development agenda.
President Akufo-Addo called on the church to support government’s worthwhile determination to stop illegal mining popularly known as “galamsey” which was threatening the environment and the very existence of mankind.
Additionally, he admonished the church to emphasize and teach its huge followers the relevance and practice of good governance, integrity, excellence, hard work and frown on all forms of corruption.
These values, he said must be the benchmarks of the church, acknowledging that the church played a pivotal role in providing the moral and ethical values necessary for personal and societal progress.
“In order to achieve rapid socio-economic growth and development, government needs greater partnership with the church. The diverse background of its members serves as a unifying factor necessary for nation building” he said.
Reverend Dr Emmanuel Tsilenga, Founder and President of Operation Africa in French who spoke on Slave Trade in Africa lamented about how the collective sin of slavery and racism had greatly hindered Africa's development.
He also criticised some cultural practices in Africa saying, most of them amounted to actual slavery and called for a complete overhaul of those practices.
Rev. Dr Tsilenga challenged African leaders to move away from policy formulation to policy implementation to truly give meaning to the desired development for the people.
Reverend Dr. Delanyo Adedevoh, Chairman of AFREG explained that AFREG sought to build a movement of African leaders of integrity who were committed to transforming the continent into a premier continent based on God-centred values.
"Slave trade in Africa: perspectives and implications', 'Historical and theological framework for the way forward' and 'the New World and the slave trade: a Latin American perspective" are among the key topics to be discussed during the conference.