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General News
Human Rights should propel Ghana''s advancement 1/26/2007
Accra, Jan. 25, GNA - Busummuru Kofi Annan, Immediate-Past Secretary-General of the United Nations, on Thursday prescribed a comprehensive strategy based on the three pillars of security, development and human rights to build on Ghana''s achievements for the future.
Delivering the inaugural lecture of the Ghana Golden Jubilee lecture series in Accra, Busummuru Annan said the three pillars reinforced one another and must prove to be the basis of "our African renaissance , so that all Africans may enjoy the prosperity that seemed to be so palpable for 50 years.

"That year, 1957, was when I graduated from Mfantsipim, full of hope for the future and for my country. This year, I have graduated again, this time from the leadership of the United Nations. And once again, I find myself full of hope for Ghana and Africa", Busumuru Annan said.

Busumuru Annan said the time was exciting to be an African, with much work to do, and pledged to join hands with fellow citizens to lift the nation and the Continent towards a bright future.

The lecture, on the theme: "Championing Africa''s Renaissance: Peace, Development and Human Rights" attracted high profile personalities including President John Agyekum Kufuor and Professor Adzei Bekoe, Chairman of the Council of State, Ministers of State, Members of Parliament, industrialists and members of Academia. Busumuru Annan said the high percentage of the youth in Africa, urbanization and technological change were changing realities that demanded faster thinking and quicker action to serve the needs of the African people.

"They demand more inclusive, more accountable and more responsive Governments, and leaders who are in tune with this new Africa and myriad complexities" Busumuru Annan said.

He recalled the bright hopes, which Ghana and other African countries had at the time of independence, but noted, however, that the Continent stumbled in many ways as it emphasized the production of primary commodities for export, often at the expense of adequate support for subsistence agriculture.

"We became subjects to the whims of the market without having any say in its functioning.

"Over succeeding decades, our Continent devolved into a land of big men and broken dreams. Some African liberators became oppressors and looters. Many conflicts festered and economies stagnated."

Busumuru Annan recalled a number of development problems of Africa, and many of the people "felt they were unjustly condemned to be exploited and oppressed, generation after generation, since colonial rule had been replaced by an inequitable economic world order and sometimes by bad governance.

"Yet at the same time, I also felt a wind of change - a feeling similar, if more circumspect that those heady early days of Ghana''s independence."

Busumuru Annan said compared to a decade ago there were fewer inter-state conflicts than there used to be, and many civil wars have ended.

He urged the political leaders of La Cote d''Ivoire to put their nation first; settle their differences and bring peace the country.

"That is what the people demand. That is what they deserve", Busumuru Annan said.

The Immediate-Past UN Secretary-General said peace, which might be spreading on the Continent, was yet to be realized as an idea, since peace was more than an absence of war.

"It is only sustainable only if accompanied by real progress in development, the second pillar of the African renaissance. Busumuru Annan observed the advances on debt relief; progress on some of the Millennium Development Goals; increase in primary school enrolment; dropping prevalence rates of AIDS and reduction in maternal mortality.

However, Africa''s development disproves the distorted and widespread image of the Continent as a sea of undifferentiated poverty, "yet the magnitude of the African needs leaves little room for complacency" Busumuru Annan said.
He called on Africans to ensure lasting peace and continuous development, adding "only then can we make up for the lost years, and bring prosperity to all".

In post lecture interview with GNA, Mr Sam Okudzeto, a legal practitioner and Former President of the Ghana Bar Association, described Busumuru Annan''s lecture as a useful analysis of the historical evolution of Africa.

He said Busumuru Annan''s lecture rekindled the hope sparked by Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana''s First President, for the Black Race at the time of Ghana''s independence, adding that the choice of words for the lecture excited hope and unity for the progress of the African Continent.

Dr Kofi Konadu Apraku, Member of Parliament, said the lecture contained the salient ingredients for Africa''s development, saying it focused on peace and development.

Mrs Eva Asare Bediako, a Development Planner, said the lecture was good and offered hope for the Ghanaian women to take up leadership positions.
She said the mentioning on Madam Ellen Sirleaf Johnson, the first woman President in Africa, in Busumuru Annan''s lecture was an invitation to women to take up more leadership positions. "One day, a woman would become president of Ghana" Mrs Asare Bediako said. 25 Jan. 07


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