Former UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan is calling on African leaders to listen to their people and invest in the youth of their countries.
That is the only path towards growth and development on the African continent, he posited Thursday, in a lecture dubbed “An afternoon with Kofi Annan.”
The lecture themed “leadership and public service” was organized by the old students of Mfantsipim College to fashion out a new path to leadership and public service.
“A leader must listen…A good leader must be a good follower,” he said adding, “When leaders fail to lead, the people lead the leader follows.”
For a continent whose youth are challenged with poverty, lack of education and jobs, Kofi Annan says it is time for leaders of Africa to invest in the youth.
“We must remember the youth of our past leaders,” he said and cited Dr Kwame Nkrumah and Abdul Nasser both of whom were presidents of Ghana and Egypt at ages 48 and 38 respectively.
He said African leaders must be preoccupied with “enhancing the welfare of their people” and “invest in a democratic Africa.”
“We must offer growing population the opportunity for employment,” he added.
He said Africa is at a crossroads, counting on its leaders to make good decisions that will change the destinies of the countries on the continent.
“The decisions we take today can determine whether we can ride the waves ahead,” he said, adding, “more than ever our future is in our hands. We must ride the wave that begun long ago at independence.”
The event attended by ex-president John Kufuor, a Prempeh old student, was to tease out the experiences of a man, a Ghanaian who had a successful career at the highest level in the United Nations.
Being the 7th UN Secretary General from January 1997 to December 2006, Kofi Annan has presided over a number of challenging global issues including the threat of terrorism.
He has also won a number of accolades including being a co-recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2001. Interestingly it was in the same year the US suffered its worse terror attack by Al-Qaeda.
Retired and enjoying a quiet life, Annan said leaders "cannot pretend to have all the answers," and demanded better engagement with civil society groups on the continent.
"We must look beyond the state and build a strong civil society which is just as important.
"The continent's development cannot come from a single leader. We each have a role to play," he stated.