Africans lack confidence to innovate - Professor Opoku
A former director of the Institute of African Studies at the University of Ghana, Prof. Kofi Asare Opoku, wants Ghana’s educational structure to be reformed to inculcate more cultural studies.
According to him, many Ghanaians and Africans in general lack confidence to innovate and execute tasks to change the continent’s economy because they are thought to believe in the Western than African culture.
“We turn to associate innovation with outsiders but our ancestors were very innovative, they discovered so many things on their own. Imagine them being able to make soap; how did they make it? They will take a tree like Odade3 (the baobab) and when they burn the back they get potash for making soap and they innovated so many things,” Prof. Opoku said.
“But you see our problem is that, in the school system we don’t learn anything about ourselves; we don’t have any confidence; we think that engineering and science are always foreign things we have to learn but we have all these scientific and engineering basis in our own culture and when we learn that, it gives us confidence.”
Speaking at a networking programme organized by Webster University and the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI), Prof. Asare Opoku said if Ghanaians are taught about indigenous scientific innovations, it will help disabuse their minds of the fact that the West needs to be looked upon for development.
“Our ancestors said you don’t borrow somebody else’s teeth to smile, they also said every bird fly with its own wings; have you seen a bird borrowing somebody else’s wings. What we have to realize is that we have wings and we can fly,”
The Campus Director at Webster University Ghana, Christa Sanders said it was an honour for the institution to support the President Barack Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative.
“At Webster, we believe in investing in the next generation of leaders and we have partnered with YALI in showcasing to the world that Africa has some strongest, brightest, and able young leaders in the world.”