Africa, Diaspora intellectual forum opens in Dakar

Dakar- Senegal (PANA) -- The first Conference of Intellectuals from Africa and the Diaspora opened here Thursday, with African Union Commission chairman, Alpha Omar Konare urging continental leaders to confide in intellectuals in the continent and abroad.
"Open your doors to intellectuals, give them the needed attention, make our countries territories of freedom and transparency for them and for us," he implored African leaders.
He emphasised that an alliance between politicians and intellectuals was needed now more than ever before.
The former Malian president also called on continental leaders, particularly those attending the conference, to set the stage for "real crusade" toward making this alliance a reality.
In this regard, Konare expressed conviction that the heads of state would give politics its real meaning, that of making the desired possible.
He explained that such was the very challenge that intellectuals are giving African leaders and to the intellectual community.
According to Konare, African youths, women, entrepreneurs and intellectuals are ready to take the challenge because they know that their destiny is in their hands since "no one will develop Africa for them".
Referring to himself as a link between the leaders and the intellectuals, Konare indicated that the latter wanted to move freely everywhere in Africa to show their skills and offer their talents.
"Restore our homeland Africa to us, restore the title of honour and glory to us, our title of redemption, by making us African citizens," he said in several languages.
In his opening speech, Senegalese president Abdoulaye Wade said if his counterparts have so much insisted on the idea of strong involvement of intellectuals in mooting strategies to build a new Africa, "it was not only out of nostalgia for the struggle waged by our forefathers".
This was, Wade said, "a deep conviction that African expertise did exist and was ready to serve peoples of the continent".
"It is time the daughters and the sons of Africa fully assume their presence in what changes are needed to reposition the continent in the world," he said.
He said it was necessary for the intellectuals to recommend to He said it befitted the intellectuals to recommend to public authorities how to plan and construct the future of the continent in line with the key aspirations of its peoples.
Presidents Amadou Toumani Toure of Mali, Pedro Pires of Cape Verde, Yoweri Museveni of Uganda and Thabo Mbeki of South Africa, as well as Gambian deputy-president Aisssatou Njie Saidy attended the opening of the first Conference of Intellectuals from Africa and the Diaspora.
The conference, which ends here Saturday, centres on the theme "Africa in the 21st Century: Integration and Renaissance.

07 october 2004 19:14:00

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