Heute, am 25. Mai 2010, ist Afrika Tag. Obwohl Afrika noch viele Herausforderungen und Schmerzen zu bewältigen hat, gibt es auch Einiges, das man zelebrieren darf.

Veröffentlicht von IOL & African Monitor

I believe that the winds of change driving this progress withpassionand vision are stronger leadership, better governance and animprovedbusiness climate.

Africans have come to the fore with innovation, market-basedsolutions,people participation and a growing tendency to rely onhome-grownstrategies for development. We are driving our owndevelopment!

We celebrate Africa Day on the eve of the World Cup, the first hosted on this continent.

This Africa Day we must remember the commitment and dedication ofmanyAfrican leaders who, through tremendous effort and sacrifice,broughtindependence to our continent.

We rejoice that today we have visionary leaders who are seeking to find solutions for sustainable development.

Our people have excelled in areas of art, literature, sport,poetry,economics, environmental issues, world peace and human rights.

Africa has given the world the wisdom and skills of people likeKenyanenvironmentalist Wangari Maathai; Nelson Mandela, thefirstdemocratically elected president of South Africa; formerUNsecretary-general Kofi Annan, who is from Ghana; andArchbishopEmeritus Desmond Tutu. All of them are Nobel laureates.

These leaders are a shining example of what is possible in the questtodevelop leadership that can help in developing African solutions.

On this Africa Day we celebrate the achievements of countries suchasMalawi, where, after the drought in 2002, about 5 million people -outof its 12 million population - needed food aid.

Now, Malawi donates maize to other hunger-stricken countries in the region.

Sierra Leone, once a war-torn country, is a success story now,withgood governance, political tolerance, strong commitment tofightcorruption and drug trafficking, and a pursuit ofpraiseworthypeace-building initiatives.

In landlocked Mali, the implementation of a multi-modal (road, railandair) transport system was key to overcominginfrastructuralconstraints.

We have success stories in Rwanda in the coffee sector, in Kenya in the cellphone industry and many more like these.

In sub-Saharan Africa, the economic conditions and landscape has changed dramatically since the mid-1990s.

The region is also making headway on poverty reduction and achieving the Millennium Development Goals.

At a recent ministerial conference in Lilongwe, Malawi, the impactofclimate change was given serious consideration. To combat theeffectsof climate change, ministers at the conference committed tointegrateit in their growth, employment and poverty eradicationstrategies, andurged development partners to provide financial,technological andcapacity-building assistance to put in place effectiveadaptation andmitigation strategies as a priority.

Ministers also committed themselves to realising the vision ofafood-secure Africa within five years with policies and strategiesthatprovide incentives to farmers (particularlysmallholders),agro-industries and agri-business enter- prises to enablethem torespond to the growing demand for food.

They further pledged to accelerate the implementation of theMaputoprotocol, in which African governments committed to spend atleast 10percent of their annual budgets on agriculture.

In science, too, Africa is making progress. Science is beginning tobetransformed into culture and the growing army of educated youngpeoplein Africa and the African Diaspora is forming theall-importanttechnological bridge in this transformation.

The continent has great growth potential. To reach this potential we need to advocate and promote trading within Africa.

Civil society organisations like African Monitor are alwaysseekingways to promote people-centred development and communityparticipation.

Because we see poverty as a human travesty, African Monitorfacilitatesa process in the most remote of communities, called povertyhearings.

Through these hearings people's voices are heard. We pledge thatafterlistening to the stories we will work vigilantly to ensure thattheyare used to amplify the voices of Africans in development issuestothose who make and implement policy.

This Africa Day, let us be a fresh wind for our people andourinstitutions and let us be energised and motivated to workresolutelyfor a world that is whole and happy, where all may live withdignity.

None of these stories mean Africa's problems have disappeared.Issuesof press freedom and democracy, and some leaders' tendency torefuse torelinquish power, are things that blight Africa's development.

For development to flourish, democracy and its institutions mustbestrong. On a day like this each country should take stock of how farithas come - these stories of African success must inspire all torealisethat they can use resources to lift their people out of themisery ofpoverty.

Ndungane is the president of African Monitor. This is an extract from his Africa Day statement for this year.