• Osagyefuo Amoatia Ofori Panin — Okyenhene
• Osagyefuo Amoatia Ofori Panin — Okyenhene

Let’s change negative perception about Africa

THE Okyenhene, Osagyefuo Amoatia Ofori Panin, has called on African leaders to strive to help change the negative perception that has been associated with the African continent in order to attract Foreign Direct Investment (FID) critical to the development of the continent.

He said the mention of Africa in many parts of the world evoked images of civil unrest, corruption, war, poverty, diseases and mounting social problems, a perception that drove away FDI.

“Our leaders now should have the courage and the willingness to change, and we will need to do something about this negative perception to attract FDI,” he said.

Addressing students, faculty members and educational leaders at a reception held in his honour at the Newark campus of Essex Country College (ECC) in New Jersey, USA, last Friday, the Okyenhene said: “Leadership would do well to remember that there are other developing nations where it is much easier to generate similarly attractive returns with considerably less hassle.

“Africa, the richest continent on the face of the earth, is a continent blessed with such abundance in diversity, yet the continent has earned the enviable position of being the headquarters of poverty,” he said. 


The Okyenhene, accompanied by his wife, Nana Asabea Ofori-Atta, and sub-chiefs, was welcomed to the colourful event by the Mayor of Newark, Ras Baraka; the President of ECC, Dr Augustine A. Boakye, and the Director of the college’s Africana Institute and Sociology Department, Dr Akil Khalfani.

The Okyenhene is the second prominent Ghanaian leader to be hosted by the college. In 2001, the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, addressed students and faculty members during the opening of the college’s African Institute. 

We must change

Osagyefuo Amoatia Ofori Panin noted that Africa could not continue to suffer from the entrenched negative stereotypes, which he described as “status quo paralysis,” by doing the same thing over and over and expect different results.

In his view, life was not meant to be this endless treadmill of monotonous existence in deprivation, pain and hopelessness that was always exhibited in many parts of the continent.

“We must change.

This change of attitude and institution we call for is not for the faint-hearted, neither is it for those unwilling to make hard choices or compromise on principles. 
“Leadership should not be petrified about change,” he said.

He recalled how the ‘civilised’ world tore Africa’s young people from their villages, packing them into wretched slave ships and selling them into slavery.

Such dehumanising trade, he said, sucked the economic blood from the continent through exploitation.

“They fostered war and peddled lethal weapon, used nations and peoples as pawns in deadly, real life war games.

That is the legacy of the West and the victims of these heinous crimes have survived,” he said.

The Okyenhene stressed that the conviction that Africans could not rise out of their environment and that they were the victims of circumstances had “dulled our senses and dampened our human spirit and caused us untold tragic failures.

Education is bedrock

Dwelling on education, Osagyefuo Amoatia Ofori Panin said education was the bedrock of any social and economic development anywhere in the world.

In his view, countries that had made impressive strides in their social economic life had done so not based on what those countries had but what they knew.

“The unfolding of these creative ideas and knowledge is the principal reason for some countries to progressively do more with less,” he said.

Women empowerment

With female children entering a world that was at best prejudiced against them and at worst dangerously hostile, the Okyenhene expressed concern over how in some societies girls’ bodies were painfully mutilated by female genital circumcision.

“They are traditionally denied participation in the management and control of the development process,” he said, and called on African leaders to declare their commitment to enable women to participate in all phases of development and at all levels of management.  

“It is known that in societies where women have been given equal opportunities and rights, those societies or communities thrive,” he said. 

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