Throughout Saturday, the Pan African Professional Alliance held its 5th annual conference at the Pasquerilla Spiritual Center to discuss the current state of African affairs, addressing its key issues.
Under the theme “Community Development Initiatives in Africa”, the Pan-APA offered guests a series of events, including research presentations, panel discussions and a keynote address by Felix Kwame Yeboah, Assistant Professor of Development international at Michigan State University.
In his address, Yeboah discussed several key issues across a wide network of African countries and offered advice on how to address them.
“I think it is very timely, given the last three years of the pandemic, which have eroded some of the development gains, to think about development in Africa.” Yeboah said.
For Dylan Vest and Yeboah, the coronavirus has forever changed the way the world is seen and the way issues are dealt with, especially in Africa.
“I think the coronavirus has really just underlined how globalized the world is,” said Vest (international affairs graduate). “It’s great for Penn State to be able to put on an event that really gives people a platform to talk about important issues.”
Yeboah described several key factors for advancing community development, illustrating what it means to build on the current strength of African people to bring about change.
“Sustainable community development initiatives in Africa must recognize Africa’s changing socio-economic landscape, be Africa-led and led, people-centered and inclusive, build on Africa’s strength and be environmentally friendly,” Yeboah said.
Yeboah built on his idea of having community development initiatives for Africans by discussing the importance of taking action and creating better opportunities.
“Inequality breeds chaos, and we see that all over the world,” Yeboah said. “When we think about development, we need to think about areas that maximize opportunities for people.”
In addition to the fact that change is a people-driven concept in Africa, Yeboah emphasized the importance of the concept of community by emphasizing the idea of social capital.
“The community brings synergies. A one-dollar community can do more than a one-dollar individual can do on their own,” Yeboah said. “The social capital and the connections we have with people are so important and ensure that even without money, people are able to meet our needs.”
Penn State student Tiza Ignatius Mfuni reflected on Yeboah’s messages of community and unity, and he shared his thoughts on what these concepts mean to him.
“For me, it’s a collection of ideas, of different backgrounds, of different experiences that come together to talk about pressing issues, about our continent, about people, about the diaspora and about the participation of Africans, and about the global international news,” Mfuni (a graduate in geography and African studies) said. studies) says.
Yeboah also explained how problems in Africa are no longer just African problems and encouraged the audience to take responsibility for current problems in Africa.
“It is very fair to say that the kind of impact Africa is going to have on the world will be shared with the young people in Africa,” Yeboah said. “The development of all African nations is a shared responsibility for all of us.”
Yeboah linked the ideas of responsibility and ownership and explained how Africa’s success depends on the African people.
“Africans need to take more ownership of their development efforts,” Yeboah said. “The development of Africa without Africans is unsustainable and has many unintended consequences because I don’t know of any country or region that has been developed by foreigners.”
In the last part of Yeboah’s speech, he referred to how Africa is going to have more impact in the global market due to the vast resources and number of opportunities available.
“We will see greater growth in the economy around the world if our opportunities expand,” Yeboah said. “With this, we know that whatever happens in Africa will make a difference in the world.”
Yeboah then shifted his focus to speak directly to young African scholars and the next generation of leaders eager to create breakthrough ideas.
“We will need bold, selfless leadership from leaders willing to take risks,” Yeboah said. “We develop with ideas, not with money. Money drives out ideas. The centered model is.
In his final line to the audience, Yeboah issued a call for action to harness more of the potential that Africa has to offer.
“The Africa that you and I love has great potential, but I also know that it can only remain potential if you and I are ready to roll up our sleeves and start taking action that will transform the countries of the poverty to prosperity.”
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