Africa not Continent of Doom, Gloom — Prez Mahama

President John Dramani Mahama says Africa is politically stable and must, therefore, not be painted as a continent of doom and gloom. He described as unfair the description of Africa as a continent of corrupt, repressive and, sometimes, violent dictators. President Mahama was giving the keynote address on the “Common African Position on the Post-2015 Development Agenda: the Intersection of Sustainability and Human Interest” at the 15th International Economic Forum on Africa in Berlin, Germany last Wednesday. He said despite the consistent spread of democracy as the result of free and fair elections, and the institution of the rule of law in many nations, the perception of Africa as a continent of dictators, corruption and oppression persisted. “While it is true that there is conflict and political instability in several countries, especially in North Africa as the result of the uprisings and ensuing civil turmoil, the continent is, by and large, politically stable. “Still, many of the democracies are relatively new and, as such, vulnerable to the threats posed by terrorism and other forms of rebellion or unrest,“ he said. Common African Position President Mahama said the Common African Position (CAP) on the Post-2015 Development Agenda was for the African Union (AU) to “speak with one voice and to act in unity to ensure that Africa’s voice is heard and is fully integrated into the global development agenda”. The CAP is made up of six pillars. These are structural economic transformation and inclusive growth; science, technology and innovation; people-centred development: environmental sustainability, natural resources management and disaster risk management, peace and security and finance partnership. “Although each of these pillars contains its own set of sub-goals that are specific to that particular area of focus, non-performance or an intrusion to the rate of performance in any one of those pillars can greatly impact the efficacy of the work being done in other areas. “This is especially true when countries already in tenuous positions, as many African nations are, find themselves faced with unforeseen disasters,” the President said. Refugee situation On the refugee situation, President Mahama said since the beginning of this year, over 3,000 refugees, a large number of them Africans, had died trying to make the journey across the Mediterranean. “In 2014, 280,000 refugees arrived at the borders of the European Union. By the end of this past August, the number of refugees for 2015 had already reached 350,000. Of that number, 7000 have recently been granted refuge here in Germany,” the President said. He applauded Germany for the great role it had played in response to what was being described as the most significant refugee crisis since the Second World War, in spite of the high political and social costs. Present at the event included the Prime Minister  of Madagascar, Jean Ravelonarivo; Prof. Horst Köhler, a former President of the Federal Republic of Germany, and Dr Gerd Müller, Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development.