Akiba Uhaki Foundation – Call For Proposals 2012

Akiba Uhaki Foundation (AUF) is a proactive grant-making organization dedicated to supporting and accompanying Human Rights and Social Justice related organizations in East Africa i.e. Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda.

In pursuit of its mandate and in line with the above intervention strategy, AUF invites applications from community-based/community-serving or national organizations in East Africa, whether registered and unregistered (provided the unregistered organizations are fiscally hosted by registered ones) for support on innovative and potentially high impact projects in the promotion and protection of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights of marginalized and disadvantaged communities in the region.

Read more 

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Doing Business in the East African Community 2011

The East African Community is deepening and widening cooperation among its 5 member states. Spurred by the need to expand markets, boost competitiveness and attract investment, East African countries have continued to take steps to make it easier for local firms to start up and operate.

The main findings of the report are:

  • Doing business has become easier in East Africa since 2005.
  • Sharing good practices could bring East Africa closer to global top performers.
  • If each East African country were to adopt the region’s best practice in each of the Doing Business indicators, the region’s average ranking on the ease of doing business would be 18 rather than 117.
  • If the best of East African regulations and procedures were implemented across the board, the business regulatory environment in East Africa, as measured by Doing Business, would be comparable to that in Japan.
  • EAC members are already seeking to learn from one another’s good reform practices through the World Bank Group-sponsored Network of Reformers initiative.

Read the  Doing Business in the East African Community 2011 Report here

Global Integrity Seeks Contributors for the 2011 Global Integrity Report

Global Integrity, a nonprofit organisation tracking governance and corruption trends around the world, seeks experienced reporters to write a story about corruption in their country as part of the forthcoming 2011 Global Integrity Report.

Stories must be based on original reporting and provide a background to understand the culture of corruption in the country.

Successful candidates will have experience in investigative journalism or proven knowledge of corruption issues. Journalists from the following countries can apply:

• Gambia,

• Ghana,

• Kenya,

• Liberia,

• Malawi,

• Rwanda,

• Sierra Leone,

• Uganda, and

• Zimbabwe

The deadline is July 20th 2011.

For more information and to apply, visit http://www.globalintegrity.org/blog/hiringforGIR2011

Ambassadors Girls’ Scholarship Program

Targeting girls from economic hardship areas, or girls facing adverse circumstances, the Ambassadors Girls’ Scholarship Program (AGSP) is providing scholarships to girls attending primary and secondary school in Africa.

The Academy for Educational Development is delivering over 85,000 scholarships over a period of four years in 15 Western, Central and Eastern African countries.

Scholarships are intended to ensure access to educational opportunities, and are geared to needs within each country. The scholarship package may include:

  • school fees including examination & tutorial fees
  • uniforms including shoes
  • books & related school supplies
  • mentoring
  • room and board ( in special circumstances)
  • transportation
  • essential personal supplies

The following countries are eligible: Burundi, Cameroon, Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Niger, Rwanda, Somalia, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda.

Scholarships are intended for economically disadvantaged girls at the primary level and sometimes at the secondary level. Particular attention will be given to orphans, those adversely affected by HIV/AIDS, and girls who are disabled.

For further details, and application materials, contact: Ambassadors Girls’ Scholarship Program

A good story sells

honeyA recently published blog post by David Roodman titled “Kiva is not quite what it seems” has been causing quite a stir in cyber space. Not so much because of the provocative title mentioning Kiva – a pioneer and probably the best known Person to Person (P2P) micro-credit organisation; Roodman’s post also questions the real intentions why people choose to fund a micro entrepreneur from Cambodia, Kenya or Guatemala for that matter.

Roodman posits that a reason for the success of Kiva and similar internet based lending portals is because for as little as US$ 25, more people can become benefactors. Helping others has become a cheap commodity and not only the super-rich Bill Gates and Warren Buffett’s can now claim the title “philanthropist”.

Similar to the P2P lending model, goods from developing countries that sell on western supermarket shelves bear stories – some of them wild. This has been largely propagated by fair trade products. However, nowadays even a pesticide sprayed beetroot from Bulawayo must carry a story. A honey product from Kenya cannot just simply be labelled “Kenyan honey”. What’s required is a long tale weaving in a tapestry of sensory words probably going along the lines of “…this honey comes from the honey bee whose hives are in Africa’s savannah plains … The scents from the eucalyptus ensure a wild …”.

Indeed, the more evocative the story about the terrain or about how poor the farmers who produced it are, the better.

This is what consumers want – a feeling that when they put a spoon of honey in their morning tea, they feel part of that savannah so alluringly described on the product label. And it is these stories that add a couple of dollars or Euro’s onto the unit retail price. On some e-commerce websites selling African “ethnic” products, 2 kgs of maize flour which is the staple food for most East and Central African countries goes for US$ 10. The same product in an upmarket supermarket in Nairobi costs less than a quarter of that price. The point is that with good marketing, consumers pay more for the “story” than the product itself.

With rampant corruption constantly being reported in Africa, an ennui among citizens of western nations has emerged. Commonly people question why donor aid is poured into large infrastructure projects such as roads and geothermal plants yet there are numerous instances of money being siphoned off by corrupt public officials in Africa. Just last week it emerged that World Bank money earmarked for free primary education in Kenya had been stolen; thus begging the question why fund such a project when if you gave an entrepreneur a bit of money they could then be empowered enough to send their children to a fee paying school?

Media stories on Africa which in most instances focus on crises’ or the potential for crisis have made people who would otherwise dip into their pockets to alleviate hunger on the Continent averse. Thus when one sees a picture of Mary from a village just outside Kampala who has a banana kiosk, the need to assist Mary overrides the need to assist Fatma in a refugee camp in Eastern Congo.

In an age where people are sponsoring small businesses’, children and even guerrillas in Rwanda, what does this all mean for entrepreneurs either seeking funding or wanting to sell their products on the export market?

In a nutshell there is a palpable and growing demand for “virtual tourism” – a state where one can experience a lifestyle from the comfort of their seat in front of a computer monitor, or perhaps when they hold the honey jar from somewhere in Africa, gently open the lid, and smell the scent of the wild.

Read “Kiva is not quite what it seems” here

Kenya’s Youth Council Bill is merely a means to keep the old guard on top

LegalKenya’s National Youth Council Bill 2009 came up for reading this week in parliament, though lack of quorum once again caused some delay. Though this should be cause for celebration for the country’s youth movement, several clauses illustrate the government’s inability to respect the needs and demands of Kenya’s youth.

Indeed the Bill is ambiguous even when it comes to the definition of who actually constitute the youth. In the Bill’s preliminary, the youth are termed as persons between fifteen and thirty years. However,the United Nations categorises youth as those between the ages of 15 to 24 years old. And for one to benefit from a loan from the Youth Enterprise Development Fund, one has to be between the ages of 18 to 35 years.

Then there is the issue of actual youth participation in the proposed Council. Section 5 of the Bill states that the Chairperson shall be appointed solely by the Minister of Youth Affairs & Sports. However, she need not even consult with youth groups when making her decision, so she could appoint a geriatric if she chose.

On further perusal of the clauses regarding the composition of the Council, it turns out that it is not only the Chair that could turn out to be old. Apart from the traditional practice of having permanent secretaries from the parent ministry and the Treasury in addition to the Attorney General (or an appointed proxy), the Minister also holds sole powers to appoint six other members to the Council. The clause once again does not insist on any consultation with youth groups, and also has no mention whatsoever of the age of these members.

Further, the Chief Executive of the Council can be as old as Methuselah as far as the Bill is concerned. This is the same officer who should serve as the face of the Council and be the voice of the youth to the Council members, yet the Bill omits to mention that they even need to form any liaisons with the country’s youth groups or have any prior experience in youth policy making.

The staff of the Council too do not have to be youth. And remember that it was only a few months ago when the retirement age of civil servants in Kenya was hiked up by five years to 65!  Seeing that the government claims to be striving to implement austerity measures, most likely the staff will be deployed from other government ministries; so who is to say that the Council offices will not be manned by 59 year olds? This in the same country where nearly 10% of the total population are unemployed youth, stinks of the same insensitivity government policies have had towards the Kenyan people.

The bid to control the youth through this reactionary document, also rises higher up in government echelons, not merely resting on the shoulders of the Minister of Youth Affairs. The President who himself is inching closer to 80 years holds the sole power to appoint the Chairperson of the proposed Advisory Board to the Council. This is the same person who oversaw the re-appointment of the oldest civil servant in Kenyan history back to the Kenya Airport Authority! Even scanning appointments to commissions and government agencies, it would be more in keeping to norm for the President to appoint someone over retirement age, this time not even having to consult with younger MPs let alone youth organisations themselves.

But there is a glimmer of light where the advisory board is concerned where the Minister of Youth (again!) has the power to appoint eight representatives of youth organisations. However, yet again the youth are locked out in getting extra seats on this board by the following factors:

  • Though one member must be nominated by the Kenya Private Sector Alliance, to be a member one has be an association or a corporate entity and fork out at least Kshs. 5,000 (US$ 65). Youth entrepreneurs generally tend to be cash strapped, and thus more likely to be unable to even afford this sum, precluding them from such a nomination.
  • Including only the Commission of Higher Education to represent the education sector ignores the millions of youth who never had or will have the opportunity to benefit from tertiary education.
  • The National Economic and Social Council has a small minority of youth members, who once again only represent the creme de la creme of industry and financial services in the country. What about the informal sector entrepreneurs who form the majority of business activity in Kenya and employ 75% of Kenyans of working age?
  • Finally where are the nomination categories that will nominate members to press for the rights of rural and urban poor youth?

Even the experts that are supposed to advise the advisory board do not have to be youthful. To us, the best expert is the one that is living the life – the youth themselves!

Another toothless dog?

It seems that indeed this proposed Council is once again a PR gimmick of the government, a mere toothless poodle to appease and control the youth.  Under the Bill, the activities and mandates of the Council are only a duplication of what national youth movements have already being doing for eons. The proposed Council pales in comparison to the youth council in Rwanda, which even has enough power to elect members to the country’s Chamber of Deputies, the second chamber of parliament.

As Hon. Denis H. Obua MP of Uganda writing earlier in this same blog comparing the mainstreaming of youth policy in his country to that of Rwanda commented:

“My observation was that issues of the youth are given top priority by the Rwandan government.

Their youth councils are one of the best supported in Africa and the Ministry of Youth Affairs is considered one of the core ministries … But does the Rwandan government have more resources than Uganda’s? The answer is no, but issues of the youth attract top attention in Kigali”.- Govt crippling youth efforts to live better, November 21 2008

Though the Bill tries to ensure fresh talent by limiting the number of years one can sit on the Council or the Advisory Board to three years, a better limit would be to ensure that the main decision making powers rest with the youth membership, while the permanent secretaries and Attorney General’s representative act as advisers to ensure they act within mandate and the law. The maximum limit for the youth Council members can be either 30 or 35 years, after the Ministry of Youth finally settles on one age. After that the Council members should retire.

Also the powers of the Minister of Youth to hire and fire should be curtailed, by insisting that there should be some consultative process with the youth of Kenya, before embarking on such actions.

Wakati Mpya wa Matumaini – Hotuba ya Rais Barack Obama, Accra, Ghana, Julai 11, 2009

Obama in AccraHabari za asubuhi. Ni heshima kubwa kwangu kuwa Accra, na kuzungumza na wawakilishi wa raia wa Ghana. Ninashukuru sana kwa makaribisho niliyopewa, pamoja na Michelle, Malia na Sasha Obama vile vile. Historia ya Ghana ni kubwa, uhusiano baina ya nchi zetu mbili ni imara, na ninaona fahari kwamba hii ni ziara yangu ya kwanza Afrika chini ya jangwa la Sahara nikiwa rais wa Marekani.

Ninazungumza nanyi baada ya ziara ndefu.  Nilianzia Urusi, kwenye mkutano wa kilele kati ya mataifa mawili makubwa.  Nikasafiri Italia, kuhudhuria mkutano wa viongozi wa nchi zinazoongoza dunia kiuchumi. Na nimekuja hapa Ghana kwa sababu moja rahisi: karne ya 21 itaathiriwa na yale yanayotokea  siyo tu mijini Rome au Moscow au Washington, lakini na yale yanayotokea Accra vilevile.

Huu ni ukweli mtupu wa wakati ambapo mipaka baina ya watu imezidiwa nguvu na uhusiano wetu.  Ustawi wenu utapanua ustawi wa Marekani. Afya yenu na usalama wenu utachangia ule wa dunia.  Na uimara wa demokrasia yenu utasaidia kuendeleza haki za binadamu kwa watu kila mahali.

Kwa hivyo sizioni nchi na watu wa Afrika kama ulimwengu uliojitenga;  Ninaiona Afrika kama sehemu ya kimsingi ya ulimwengu wetu uliounganishwa–kama washirika wa Marekani kwa niaba ya mustakabali tunaowatakia watoto wetu wote.  Ushirika huo lazima msingi wake uwe uwajibikaji kwa pande zote, na hili ndilo ninalotaka kuwazungumzia leo.

Ni lazima tuanze na kanuni ya kimsingi kwamba mustakabali wa Afrika uko juu ya Waafrika.

Ninasema haya nikijua vyema kabisa hali ya zamani ya  msiba ambayo mara nyingine imedhikisha eneo hili la dunia. Nina damu ya Afrika ndani yangu, na hadithi ya familia yangu inazingira maafa na vilevile ushindi wa hadithi kuu ya Afrika.

Babu yangu alikuwa mpishi wa Waingereza nchini Kenya, na ingawa alikuwa mzee aliyeheshimiwa katika kijiji chake, waajiri wake walimwita “mvulana” kwa muda mrefu wa maisha yake. Alikuwa ukingoni mwa harakati za ukombozi wa Kenya, lakini bado aliwekwa jela kwa muda mfupi katika enzi za ukandamizaji. Katika maisha yake, ukoloni haukuwa tu kuweka mipaka isiyo ya asili au masharti yasiyo ya haki katika biashara—ulikuwa kitu kilichozoelewa binafsi, siku nenda siku rudi, mwaka nenda mwaka rudi.

Baba yangu alikua akichunga mbuzi katika kijiji kidogo, umbali usiopimika kutoka vyuo vikuu vya Kimarekani ambako hatimaye alikuja kupata elimu. Alikomaa wakati wa enzi ya matumaini ya ajabu katika Afrika.  Mapambano ya kizazi cha baba yake yalikuwa yanazalisha mataifa mapya, kuanzia hapa hapa Ghana. Waafrika walikuwa wanajielimisha na kuchukua misimamo kwa njia mpya kabisa.  Historia ilikuwa inasonga mbele.

Lakini licha ya maendeleo ambayo yamefanyika—na kumekuwepo na maendeleo mengi katika sehemu kadhaa za Afrika— vile vile tunajua kwamba sehemu kubwa ya ahadi hiyo haijatimizwa bado.  Nchi kama vile Kenya, ambayo ilikuwa na uchumi mkubwa kwa mtu mmoja mmoja kuliko Korea Kusini wakati nilipozaliwa, imepitwa vibaya. Magonjwa na migogoro imevuruga baadhi ya maeneo ya bara la Afrika. Katika sehemu nyingi, matumaini ya kizazi cha baba yangu yamegeuka kuwa ubeuzi, hata kukata tamaa.

Ni rahisi kunyoosha vidole, na kuwabandikia  watu wengine lawama za matatizo haya. Ndiyo, ramani ya ukoloni ambayo haikuwa na maana kubwa ilizusha migogoro, na nchi za Magharibi mara nyingi zimeshughulikia bara la Afrika kama mlezi, badala ya mshirika. Lakini nchi za Magharibi haziwajibiki na kuharibiwa kwa uchumi wa Zimbabwe mnamo mwongo uliopita, au vita ambamo watoto wameandikishwa kama wapiganaji. Katika maisha ya baba yangu, ni ukabila na upendeleo katika Kenya huru ambao kwa muda mrefu uliiangusha kazi yake, na tunajua kwamba ufisadi kama huu ni ukweli wa maisha ya kila siku kwa watu wengi mno.

Bila shaka tunajua pia kwamba hiyo si hadithi nzima. Hapa Ghana, mnatuonyesha sura ya Afrika ambayo mara nyingi mno inapuuzwa na ulimwengu ambao unaona tu maafa au mahitaji ya hisani. Watu wa Ghana wamejibidisha kuiweka demokrasia katika mizizi imara, kukiwepo mabadiliko ya utawala kwa amani hata katika uchaguzi ulioshindaniwa vikali. Na kukiwa na utawala ulioboreka na jamii inayoibuka ya kiungwana, uchumi wa Ghana umeonyesha kima cha kuvutia cha ustawi.

Maendeleo haya labda yanakosa msisimko wa harakati za ukombozi za karne ya 20, lakini zingatia: hatimaye yatakuwa muhimu zaidi. Kwa kuwa ni muhimu mkubwa kuibuka kutoka kwenye udhibiti wa taifa jingine, hata ni muhimu zaidi vile vile kujijengea taifa lenu wenyewe.

Kwa hivyo ninaamini kwamba wakati huu ni muhimu kwa Ghana—kama ilivyo kwa Afrika—kama wakati baba yangu alipokomaa na mataifa mapya yalikuwa yakizaliwa.  Huu ni wakati mpya wa ahadi.  Ila tu wakati huu, tumejifunza kwamba haitakuwa watu mashuhuri kama Nkrumah na Kenyatta watakaoamua mustakabali wa Afrika. Badala yake itakuwa ninyi—wanaume na wanawake katika bunge la Ghana na watu mnaowakilisha. Na juu ya yote itakuwa vijana—wakijawa na vipawa na nguvu na matumaini—ambao wanaweza kudai mustakabali ambao wengi sana katika kizazi cha baba yangu hawakupata kamwe.

Ili kutambua ahadi hiyo, ni lazima kwanza tutambue ukweli wa kimsingi ambao mmehui hapa Ghana: maendeleo yanategemea utawala bora.  Hicho ndicho kiambato ambacho kimekosekana katika mahali pengi mno, kwa muda mrefu mno. Hayo ndiyo mabadiliko yanayoweza kufungua uwezo wa Afrika. Na huo ni wajibu ambao unaweza kutimizwa na Waafrika tu.

Na kuhusu Marekani na nchi za Magharibi, ahadi yetu lazima ipimwe kwa kiwango zaidi ya dola tunazotumia. Nimeahidi nyongeza kubwa zaidi katika misaada yetu ya kigeni.  Lakini dalili halisi ya ufanisi lazima iwe kama sisi ni washirika katika kujenga uwezo wa mabadiliko ya mageuzi – siyo tu kama chanzo cha msaada unaosaidia watu kukwangua.

Wajibu huu wa pande zote mbili lazima uwe msingi wa ushirikiano wetu.  Na leo, nitalenga maeneo manne hasa ambayo ni muhimu kwa mustakabali wa Afrika na ulimwengu mzima unaoendelea: demokrasia, nafasi, afya; na kutanzuliwa kwa migogoro kwa njia za amani.

Kwanza, ni lazima tuziunge mkono serikali zenye demokrasia imara na zilizo endelevu.

Kama nilivyosema Cairo, kila taifa linaipa demokrasia uhai katika njia yake ya kipekee, na kwa kuzingatia desturi zake. Lakini historia inatoa uamuzi ulio bayana: serikali ambazo zinaheshimu utashi wa watu wao wenyewe zina ustawi zaidi, ziko imara zaidi, na zinafanikiwa zaidi ya serikali zisizofanya hivyo.

Hii ni zaidi ya kuwa na uchaguzi tu—pia ni juu ya kile kinachotokea kati yao. Kuna aina nyingi za ukandamizaji, na mataifa mengi sana yamekabiliwa na matatizo ambayo yanapelekea raia wake kuwa maskini. Hakuna nchi itakayoumba utajiri ikiwa viongozi wake wanatumia uchumi kujitajirisha wenyewe, au polisi wanaweza kununuliwa na walanguzi wa madawa ya kulevya.  Hakuna biashara yoyote inayotaka kuwekeza mahali ambapo serikali inajichukulia asilimia 20 vivi hivi au mkuu wa Mamlaka ya Forodha ni mla rushwa. Hakuna mtu yeyote anayetaka kuishi katika jumuiya ambako utawala wa kisheria unageuzwa kuwa utawala wa ukatili na hongo. Hii si demokrasia, huo ni udhalimu, na sasa ni wakati wake kukoma.

Katika karne ya 21, taasisi zenye uwezo, zinazotegemewa, na zilizo wazi ndizo ufunguo wa mafanikio — mabunge yaliyo imara na majeshi ya polisi yaliyo maaminifu; mahakimu na waandishi wa habari walio huru; sekta ya kibinafsi iliyochangamka na jumuiya ya kiraia. Hivi ni vitu vinavyoipa demokrasia uhai, kwa sababu ndivyo vitu vyenye maana katika maisha ya watu.

Mara kwa mara Waghana wamechagua utawala wa kikatiba badala ya utawala wa nguvu.   Kuonyesha roho ya kidemokrasia inayowezesha nguvu ya watu wenu kufanikiwa.  Tunaona hivyo katika viongozi wanaokubali kushindwa kwa hisani, na washindi wanaozuia miito ya kutumia nguvu dhidi ya upinzani.  Tunaona roho hiyo katika waandishi  wa habari jasiri kama vile Anas Aremeyaw Anas, ambaye alihatarisha maisha yake kuripoti ukweli. Tunaiona katika polisi kama vile Patience Quaye, ambaye alimshtaki mwuzaji wa kwanza wa binadamu nchini Ghana. Tunaiona katika vijana ambao wanalalamikia udhalili na upendeleo, na kushiriki katika mchakato wa kisiasa.

Kote barani Afrika, tumeona mifano isiyohesabika ya watu wanaoshika hatamu ya kudura yao, na kufanya mabadiliko kuanzia chini hadi juu. Tumeona nchini Kenya, ambako jamii ya kiraia na wafanyibiashara walishirikiana kusaidia kusimamisha ghasia zilizotokea baada ya uchaguzi. Tuliiona Afrika Kusini ambapo zaidi ya theluthi tatu za raia nchini humo walipiga kura katika uchaguzi wa hivi karibuni – uchaguzi wa nne tangu mwisho wa ubaguzi wa rangi.  Tuliiona Zimbabwe ambako shirika la Election Support Network lilikabiliana na ukandamizaji wa kikatili na kusimamia kanuni kwamba kura ya mtu ni haki yake isiyopingika.

Zingatia: historia iko upande wa Waafrika hawa hodari, na sio wale wanaotumia mapinduzi au kubadilisha Katiba ili wakae madarakani. Afrika haihitaji wababe, inahitaji taasisi imara.

Marekani haitajaribu kubandika mfumo wowote wa serikali kwenye taifa jingine lolote – ukweli muhimu wa demokrasia ni kwamba kila taifa linajiukilia kudura yake.  Tutakachofanya ni kuongeza msaada kwa watu wanaowajibika na hali kadhalika taasisi zinazowajibika, kukiwa na lengo la kusaidia utawala bora —katika mabunge, yanayodhibiti matumizi mabaya ya madaraka na kuhakikisha kwamba sauti za upinzani zinasikika; utawala wa kisheria, unaohakikisha utawala sawa wa haki; kushiriki kwa raia, ili vijana wahusike; na ufumbuzi wa ubunifu katika rushwa kama vile uwajibikaji kwa umma, huduma zinazotolewa na mashini, kuimarisha simu za kuripoti ubadhirifu, na kuwalinda wale wanaotoa habari za mambo ya kisirisiri ili kuendeleza uwazi na uwajibikaji.

Na tunapotoa msaada huu, nimeiagiza serikali yangu kuorodhesha rushwa kama suala katika ripoti yetu ya kila mwaka kuhusu Haki za Binadamu. Watu kila mahali wanapaswa kuwa na haki ya kuanzisha biashara au kupata elimu bila kutoa hongo. Tuna wajibu wa kuwasaidia wale wanaofanya mambo yao kwa kuwajibika na kuwatenga wale wanaotenda kinyume, na  hivyo ndivyo Marekani itakavyofanya.

Na hili linaelekea moja kwa moja kwenye eneo la pili la ushirikiano — kusaidia maendeleo yanayowatolea watu wengi zaidi nafasi.

Kukiwa na utawala bora, sina shaka kwamba Afrika inashika ahadi ya msingi mpana zaidi wa ustawi.  Bara lina utajiri wa mali asili. Na kuanzia wajasiriamali wa simu za mkononi hadi wakulima, Waafrika wameonyesha uwezo na kupania kuunda fursa zao wenyewe. Lakini tabia za kale pia lazima zivunjwe.

Kutegemea bidhaa—au zao moja linalouzwa nje ya nchi– kunarundika utajiri mikononi mwa wachache, na kuwaacha watu kuwa rahisi kuathirika na mididimio. Nchini Ghana kwa mfano, mafuta yanaleta fursa kubwa na mmewajibika katika kujitayarisha kwa mapato. Lakini Waghana wengi mno wanajua mafuta hayawezi kuwa kakao mpya. Kutoka Korea Kusini hadi Singapore, historia inaonyesha kwamba nchi hustawi zinapowekeza katika watu wao na miundombinu; wanapoendeleza viwanda mbalimbali vya uuzaji wa bidhaa nje ya nchi, kuunda kundi la wafanyikazi wenye ujuzi, na kuumba nafasi kwa biashara ndogo ndogo na za kati, na zinazobuni kazi.

Na Waafrika wanapofikia ahadi hii, Marekani itawajibika zaidi katika kunyoosha  mkono wetu.  Kwa kupunguza gharama zinazowaendea washauri na utawala wa Magharibi, tunaweza kuweka rasilmali mikononi mwa wale wanaoihitaji, wakati tukiwafundisha kujitegemea zaidi. Hii ndiyo sababu ari yetu ya dola $3.5 bilioni za mpango wa usalama wa chakula zinalenga njia na teknolojia mpya kwa wakulima—siyo tu kuwapeleka wazalishaji wa Kimarekani au bidhaa barani Afrika.  Na msaada peke yake si ufumbuzi.  Madhumuni ya misaada ya kigeni lazima yawe kuunda hali ambayo misaada hiyo haihitajika tena.

Marekani inaweza kuongeza juhudi kuendeleza biashara na uwekezaji. Mataifa tajiri lazima yafungue milango yetu kwa bidhaa kutoka Afrika kwa njia ya maana. Na pale ambapo kuna utawala bora, tunaweza kupanua ustawi kupitia ushirikiano wa umma na makundi ya kibinafsi ambao unawekeza katika barabara bora na umeme.  Ujenzi wa uwezo unaowafundisha watu kukuza biashara, huduma za kifedha zinazofikia sehemu maskini na zile za mashambani.  Hili ni kwa ajili ya maslahi yetu — kwa kuwa watu wanaponyanyuliwa kutoka kwenye ufukara na utajiri kuundwa Afrika, masoko mapya yatafunguka kwa bidhaa zetu.

Eneo moja ambalo linaonekana kuwa la hatari zisizokanika na matumaini yasiyo na kifani ni nishati. Afrika hutoa kiasi kidogo zaidi cha hewa chafu kuliko sehemu nyingine yoyote duniani, lakini ni bara linalotishwa zaidi na mabadiliko ya hali ya hewa.  Sayari inayozidi kuongezeka joto itasambaza maradhi, kupunguza fungu la maji na kutokomeza mimea, huku ikiunda hali inayosababisha baa la njaa na migogoro zaidi.  Sisi sote – hasa ulimwengu ulioendelea — tuna wajibu wa kupunguza kasi ya mielekeo hii—kupitia hatua za kuzuia na kubadilisha jinsi tunavyotumia nishati. Lakini tunaweza pia kushirikiana na Waafrika kugeuza mgogoro huu kuwa fursa ya manufaa.

Pamoja, tunaweza kushirikiana kwa niaba ya sayari na ustawi wetu, na kuzisaidia nchi kupata nguvu zaidi, huku zikiepuka awamu chafu zaidi ya maendeleo.  Kote barani Afrika, kuna nishati nyingi sana ya upepo na jua; nishati ya joto la ardhi na nishati inayotokana na viumbe. Kuanzia Bonde la Ufa hadi majangwa ya Afrika Kaskazini; kuanzia pwani ya Magharibi hadi mimea ya Afrika kusini—zawadi za asili za Afrika zisizo na kikomo zinaweza kuzalisha nishati yake zenyewe, huku kukisafirishwa nje nishati safi na yenye faida.

Hatua hizi zina umuhimu kupita takwimu za ustawi zilizopo kwenye mizania.  Zinahusiana na kama kijana mwenye elimu anaweza kupata kazi ya kipato kinachomwezesha kuisaidia familia yake; mkulima anaweza kuhamishia bidhaa zake sokoni; mjasiriamali mwenye wazo jema anaweza kuanzisha biashara.  Ni kuhusu heshima ya kazi.  Ni kuhusu nafasi ambayo lazima iwepo kwa Waafrika mnamo karne ya 21.

Kama vile utawala ni muhimu kwa nafasi, pia ni muhimu kwa eneo la tatu nitakalozungumzia—kuimarisha afya ya umma.

Mnamo miaka ya hivi karibuni, maendeleo makubwa yamefanyika katika sehemu kadhaa za Afrika. Watu wengi zaidi wanaishi kwa uzalishaji wakiwa na VVU/UKIMWI, na kupata dawa zinazohitajika. Lakini wengi mno bado wanakufa kutokana na magonjwa ambayo hayapaswi kuwaua. Watoto wanapouawa kwa sababu ya kuumwa na mbu, na akina mama wanakufa wakati wa kujifungua, ndipo tunatambua kwamba lazima maendeleo yafanyike.

Lakini kwa sababu ya vichocheo – ambavyo mara nyingi vinatolewa na mataifa ya wafadhili  — madaktari na manesi wengi wa Afrika inaeleweka huenda nchi za ng’ambo, au hufanyia kazi programu zinazopambana na ugonjwa mmoja tu. Hii inaunda pengo katika matunzo na hatua za kimsingi za kuzuia magonjwa. Wakati huo huo, Waafrika binafsi lazima wafanye maamuzi ya kuwajibika yanayozuia kuenea kwa magonjwa, huku wakiendeleza huduma za afya katika jumuiya na nchi zao.

Kote barani Afrika tunaona mifano ya watu wakitatua matatizo haya. Nchini Nigeria, juhudi zinazoshirikisha imani mbalimbali baina ya Wakristo na Waislamu zimeweka mfano wa ushirikiano katika kupambana na malaria. Hapa nchini Ghana na kote barani Afrika, tunaona mawazo ya ubunifu yakijaza pengo katika huduma za matunzo—kwa mfano, kupitia mipango kama ari za E-Health zinazowawezesha madaktari katika miji mikubwa kuwasaidia wale wanaofanya kazi katika miji midogo.

Marekani itaunga mkono juhudi hizi kupitia mkakati kamili wa afya ya kimataifa. Kwa sababu katika karne ya 21, tunahimizwa kuchukua hatua na dhamiri yetu na maslahi yetu ya pamoja. Mtoto anapofariki mjini Accra, kutokana na ugonjwa unaozuilika, hiyo inatupunguza sote kila mahali. Na magonjwa yanapoenea bila kudhibitiwa katika pembe yoyote ya dunia, tunajua kwamba yanaweza kusambaa kuvuka bahari na mabara.

Hii ndiyo sababu Utawala wangu umeahidi dola $63 bilioni kukabiliana na changamoto hizi. Tukiendeleza juhudi nzuri zilizoanzishwa na Rais Bush, tutaendeleza mapambano dhidi ya VVU/UKIMWI. Tutaendelea kulisaka lengo la kukomesha vifo kutokana na malaria na kifua kikuu, na kutokomeza polio.  Tutapambana na maradhi ya tropiki yaliyopuuzwa.  Na hatutakabiliana na  maradhi haya kwa kujitenga — tutawekeza katika mifumo ya afya ya umma inayohimiza uzima, na kulenga afya ya akina mama na watoto.

Na  tunaposhirikiana kwa niaba ya mustakabali wa afya bora, lazima pia tukomeshe uharibifu usiotokana na maradhi, bali unatokana na binadamu–na kwa hivyo eneo la mwisho nitakalozungumzia ni migogoro.

Sasa wacha niwe wazi: Afrika si karagosi wa bara lililokumbwa na vita. Lakini kwa Waafrika wengi mno, migogoro imekuwa sehemu ya maisha, ikidumu kama vile jua.  Kuna vita ya kugombea ardhi na maliasili. Na bado ni rahisi mno kwa wale wasio na dhamiri kuchochea jumuiya nzima kupigana miongoni mwa imani na makabila.

Migogoro hii ni mzigo mzito shingoni mwa Afrika.  Sote tuna njia za kujitambulisha — za kabila, za dini au uraia.  Kujifasili kwa kumpinga mtu ambaye anatoka kabila tofauti, au anayemwabudu mtume tofauti, hakuna nafasi katika karne ya 21. Tofauti za makabila ni chanzo cha nguvu na si sababu ya mfarakano. Sisi sote ni watoto wa Mungu. Sote tuna mahitaji yanayofanana—kuishi  kwa amani na usalama; kupata elimu na kupata fursa; kupenda ndugu na jamaa zetu, jumuiya zetu, na Mungu wetu.  Huo ndio ubinadamu wetu wa kawaida.

Hii ndiyo sababu lazima sote tusimame pamoja kupinga unyama miongoni mwetu.  Kamwe si haki kulenga wasio na hatia.  Ni adhabu ya kifo kuwalazimisha watoto kuua katika vita.  Ni kilele cha uhalifu na uoga kuwalaani wanawake na kuwaweka katika vitendo vya mfumo wa kubakwa kusiko na kikomo. Ni lazima tuwe mashahidi kwa thamani ya kila mtoto katika Darfur na heshima ya kila mwanamke nchini Congo.  Hakuna imani au utamaduni unaohalalisha maovu wanayotendewa.  Sisi sote lazima tujitahidi kutafuta amani na usalama unaohitajika kwa ajili ya maendeleo.

Waafrika wanasimama kwa niaba ya mustakabali huu.  Hapa pia, Ghana inasaidia kuelekeza njia inayofaa. Waghana wanapaswa kuona fahari kwa mchango wenu katika juhudi za ulinzi wa amani kuanzia Congo hadi Liberia na Lebanon, na katika juhudi zenu za kupambana na baa la ulanguzi wa madawa ya kulevya. Tunafurahia juhudi zinazochukuliwa na mashirika kama vile Umoja wa Afrika na ECOWAS kufumbua migogoro, kulinda amani na kuwasaidia wale walio na shida. Na tunahimiza mtazamo wa mwundo wa chombo imara cha usalama kinachoweza kufanikisha harakati za jeshi la kimataifa linapohitajika.

Marekani ina wajibu wa kuendeleza mtazamo huu, si kwa maneno tu, lakini kwa msaada unaoweza kuimarisha uwezo wa Afrika. Kunapotokea mauaji ya halaiki katika Darfur au mafunzo ya magaidi katika Somalia, haya si matatizo ya Afrika peke yak — ni changamoto ya usalama wa kimataifa, na yanahitaji mwitikio wa kimataifa.   Hii ndiyo sababu tuko tayari kushirikiana kupitia diplomasia,  misaada ya kiufundi, na misaada ya upangaji na uchukuzi, na tutasimamia juhudi za kuwawajibisha wahalifu wa kivita.  Wacha niseme wazi: kamanda yetu ya Afrika hailengi kuweka kidato barani, bali inalenga  kupambana na changamoto kuendeleza usalama wa Amerika, Afrika na dunia

Nilipokuwa Moscow, nilizungumzia haja ya kuwepo kwa mfumo wa kimataifa ambako haki za binadamu duniani zinaheshimiwa, na ukiukaji wa haki hizo unapingwa. Hiyo lazima ijumuishe ahadi ya kuunga mkono wale wanaofumbua migogoro kwa amani, kuwaadhibu na kuwasimamisha wale wasiofanya hivyo, na kuwasaidia wale waliodhurika. Lakini hatimaye, ni demokrasia imara zinazoendelea kama Botswana na Ghana zitakazorudisha nyuma vyanzo vya migogoro, na kuendeleza mipaka ya amani na ustawi.

Kama nilivyosema awali, mustakabali wa Afrika uko juu ya Waafrika wenyewe.

Watu wa Afrika wako tayari kujinyakulia mustakabali huo.  Katika nchi yangu, Wamarekani wa asili ya Kiafrika – wakiwemo wahamiaji wengi mno wa hivi karibuni – wamestawi katika kila sehemu ya jamii.  Tumefanya hivyo licha ya hali ngumu ya zamani, na tumepata nguvu kutoka kwa urithi wetu wa Kiafrika.  Kukiwa na taasisi imara na utashi imara, ninajua Waafrika wanaweza kutimiza ndoto zao mijini Nairobi na Lagos; Cape Town na Kinshasa;  Harare na hapa hapa Accra.

Miaka hamsini na mbili iliyopita, macho ya ulimwengu yalikazia Ghana. Na mhubiri mmoja kijana aliyeitwa Martin Luther King, alisafiri kuja hapa Accra, kushuhudia bendera ya Uingereza ikiteremka na bendera ya Ghana ikipanda juu ya Bunge. Hii ilikuwa kabla ya maandamano mjini Washington au mafanikio ya harakati za kupigania haki za kiraia katika nchi yangu. Dakta King aliulizwa mjini Accra jinsi alivyojisikia kushuhudia kuzaliwa kwa taifa. Na akasema “Inafufua imani yangu katika ushindi wa mwisho wa haki.”

Sasa, ushindi huo lazima upatikane tena na lazima ushindi upatikane nanyi. Na hasa ninawazungumzia vijana. Katika maeneo kama Ghana, vijana ni karibu nusu ya idadi ya watu. Hiki ndicho mnachopaswa kujua: ulimwengu ni kile mnachotaka kiwe.

Mnao uwezo wa kuwawajibisha viongozi wenu, na kujenga asasi zinazowahudumia watu. Mnaweza kuhudumia katika jumuiya zenu, na kutumia nguvu na elimu yenu kuunda utajiri mpya, na kujenga uhusiano mpya na dunia. Mnaweza kuyashinda maradhi, kumaliza migogoro, na kufanya mabadiliko kuanzia chini kwenda juu. Mnaweza kufanya hivyo. Ndiyo mnaweza. Kwa sababu katika wakati huu, historia inasonga mbele.

Lakini vitu hivi vinaweza kufanyika tu kama mtachukua wajibu wa mustakabali wenu.  Kutakuwa na gharama.  Lakini ninaweza kuwaahidi hivi: Marekani itakuwa nanyi.   Kama mshirika wenu.  Kama rafiki.   Nafasi haitatokea mahali pengine popote—lazima itokane na maamuzi mnayoyafanya, vitu mnavyofanya na matumaini mnayoshikilia mioyoni mwenu.

Uhuru ni urithi wenu. Sasa, ni wajibu wenu kujenga juu ya msingi wa uhuru. Na mkifanya hivyo, tutatazama nyuma miaka ya baadaye kutoka leo, kwenye mahali kama Accra, na kusema huu ni wakati ambapo ahadi ilitimia—huu ni wakati ambapo ustawi ulibuniwa; uchungu ulishindwa; na enzi ya maendeleo ilianza. Huu unaweza kuwa wakati ambapo tunashuhudia tena ushindi wa haki.  Asanteni sana.