by Moez Bhar
Our reporter had the chance to interview Mr. Sékou Kouréissy Condé who is an African civil society representative and President of African Crisis Group, based in Ouagadougou. Koureissy condé is an impressive political African figure who is well versed in foreign and African Affairs. He is the former Guinean Minister of Security and foreign affairs and he currently teaches at Columbia University as well as New York University.
As a civil society Activist in Africa, what kind of message would you like to address to your African colleagues ?
First of all I would like to thank you for giving me the opportunity to discover another dimension of Afrika News. The World Policy Center is a space of gathering that I really appreciated. I take the opportunity to congratulate the organisers and to thank them for inviting the African civil society in general and particularly for inviting me.
That’s said, I would like to tell the African Civil society organisation and African citizens that Africa is currently entering an important, new and decisive phase in its evolution.
The center of the world has shifted. Europe is no longer the center of the world nor is America. Asia is becoming the center of the world, and as a result Europe is getting closer to Africa, and this somehow put us in the same basket and we become partners in a way.
I would like to call the existing civil society organisations to mobilize, rally, and to promote values of citizenship and Pan-Africanism.
And what is Africa offering in this regard? We offer a demography. We offer a major and experimented human capital, even more than it was in 1945 and during the Cold War, along with valuable and preserved natural resources. Africa today counts 1 billion and soon 1.5 billion inhabitants. The continent will count 2 billion inhabitants in 35 years , which is a strong demographic capacity.
Concerning African states, they lack civil society organizations. So, I would like to call the existing civil society organisations to mobilize, rally, and to promote values of citizenship and Pan-Africanism. That is, to make Africa the United States of Africa, the united citizens of Africa.
Africa, with its five poles, is a gigantic resource of wealth that we can put to use to prepare for the end of the millennium. So Africa should measure up to the challenges ahead. African civil society organisations should address African issues related to peace, development, education, environmental protection and public health care. These should be tackled in a cross border and transnational manner. I do not say, I must be Guinean, Tunisian, Algerian, Moroccan, Togolese, Nigerian or Burkinabe to react, we must consider Africa as an indivisible unit.
You are the president of the African Crisis group -an African crisis management group recognized in the field of mediation in Africa- what do you think of the rise of terrorism in Africa and what solution do you propose to African leaders?
The rise of terrorism is not limited to African countries but rather a violence that seems to engulf the world, to quote-unquote “unite in a certain way”, to show that the human being is fragile and that real solidarity is necessary and indispensable.
What do Westerners offer? They offer high technology, sophisticated intelligence, and good living conditions. On another note, what does Africa offer? Africa offers social energy, social bonds, cultural and traditional values, and this is a an asset that has not been sufficiently used. The African borders are fragile, and the functioning of African states carries the seeds of conflict and the administration that we inherited carries them as well, notably the political system and the African democracy.
African leaders should be aware of the social role of citizens in conflict resolution and the fight against terrorism.
Besides, the violence linked to poverty, which is a form of values corruption, is multiplying. African leaders should be aware of the social role of citizens in conflict resolution and the fight against terrorism. We need to revalorize families, schools and informal regulation systems. We need to talk to each other, we need dialogue, and we need to make civic and moral education a priority for governments. We’ve become very selfish and individualistic, and finally the corrupt people benefit from it. Africa has a solution! This solution is social, it requires the gathering of the organizations of the civil society around a single priority.
This is why i suggested two things, during the World Policy Conference :
The first suggestion lies within the organization and implementation of a parliament for West African civil society organizations, which is an innovative recommendation, which will be a parliament that does not legislate but rather propose innovative solutions. We have taken a first step, we have met with Senegalese civil society and we are in the process of continuing the consultations. When the time comes, we will decide together what form it will take. We will also plan consultative meetings in different places, and step by step we will expand to other parts of Africa. It’s an innovative idea that I presented and it was warmly welcomed.
The second suggestion, is the African meeting of civil society organizations that I called “RISCA”. These African organizations must take the time to meet up like governments, foreign ministers and representatives of the armed forces meet when there are conflicts, and not only through think tanks that we appreciate and promote, but also in terms of formal meetings where we get to choose sectors that we will study and discuss. The outcome will be dispatched to different countries, which will enable civil society to be on the same level of information.
The African population is mostly young. However we are witnessing a lot of disorder and disorientation among young people ? What do you think?
The youth are our future. You are absolutely right, today young people have a lack of reference, It’s a leadership problem. Our governors don’t take the time to incite and encourage the youth to dream. For example, when we look to Western societies, you can see that they did not invent anything, they have inherited culture, architecture and a lifestyle that they have gradually improved and strengthened and that’s what’s missing in Africa. It is the state that must take care of these issues.
The issue of young people is a matter of training, education and follow-up. However, today consumerism comes before education and training, whereas 15 years ago it was the opposite. Back then, the African world was still in its resistance phase. Today, young people are more efficient, they are taking part of the globalization in this digital era. They are making enormous efforts compared to previous generations, but i have to insist on the fact that they lack supervision and support of the governments, and this is a real threat.
The lack of supervision and reinforcement of the learning capacities of young people can result in the youth abandoning their pursuits, which is the real threat. The young people are the ones who will build a valued and positive Africa.