Africans need to face up to the Challenges
Politiek, 17 Jul 2006 - The Voice
Minister Van Ardenne en Elvis Iruh

Elvis Iruh (Editor-in-Chief, The Voice): 'Do Africans understand what their roles are in a foreign country and how they could be heard?'
'Many times when activities are organized for Africans, you never see them except if you are inviting them to a party to eat and drink.'

Quoting the Minister for Development Cooperation, Agnes van Ardenne during an online debate on the Africa policy memorandum initiated by NCDO in 2003, she said and I quote her, 'African Diaspora are in a unique position as they live in two cultures, or between two cultures, and thus have the advantage of intimate knowledge about different social situations, local conditions and networks and cultural experiences in Africa to a far greater degree than people with a Dutch background. The comparative advantage as an added value enables the African Diaspora to bring better quality information and different views and perspective to human rights activities, journalists, development practitioners and policy makers in the Netherlands involved in the development process in their respective countries of origin from a distance.' A well spoken word for a people. The minister hopes they understand what is at stake. But do Africans understand what their roles are in a foreign country and how they could be heard? Many times when activities are organized for Africans, you never see them except if you are inviting them to a party to eat and drink.

The Dutch Minister of Development cooperation threw a challenge to us by asking his people to give us a chance to integrate into the system, equal chances and equal opportunities but are Africans ready to take the opportunities if given to them. I have seen too many negativisms that I am worried that we are missing the opportunities in our hands to make a difference in a world, which is becoming more competitive to live in. Africans seem to be satisfied with this poor and pity me mentality. I don't want to be associated with that any more and not the Voice magazine of course. We long to the elite of Africans who are willing to make whatever sacrifice we have to make to make a difference. My children would be among the best in this country, they would achieve the highest level of academic standards they could attain.

In Amsterdam, I was taken to a school where black kids are being taught to become shop keepers, waitresses and hotel stewards or stewardesses. I was invited to write an article about the project as a contribution of helping the black immigrant kids to integrate. I beg to disagree in this type of integration. Why should my child not be a hotel manager instead of a waiter? I want my child to go to the university and aspire to something greater. The first generation blacks were used as slaves, the second generation blacks were used for domestic labour, and I would not allow our third generation to be enslaved again with minor jobs in the society. It is a challenge for all to make a difference by promoting education among our children. The same should be happening in Africa, I am happy that some countries are doing all they can to promote education among the girl child and boy.

Africa needs to rely more on trade now than aid. Aid would make us permanently depend on the west but trade would bring about self sufficiency and reliance.

Elvis Ndubuisi Iruh, Editor-in-Chief (The Voice)

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