By Brendan Umoren
The United States of America has identified corruption as one of the factors hampering development of the continent, adding that it is the belief of the government that solution can only come from among the people.
The Public Affairs Officer of the US Consulate, Mr. Russell Brooks, who said this at the 2019 Young African Leadership Initiative (YALI) Tech Camp Digital Advocates for Civil Engagement in Lagos yesterday, said finding lasting, sustainable solutions to these problems is hampered by corruption, the absence or misallocation of resources as well as simple mismanagement.
According to him, “It is not an exaggeration to say that everyday, we see evidence of the critical need for greater efforts in good governance. In fact, you will not have to go far outside the doors of this institution to find confirmation of the need for real solutions to some of the most vexing issues facing the government in Nigeria and elsewhere.
“I am speaking of the need for better healthcare, more efficient transport system, better schools, improved sanitation, a healthier environment, in other words, a better quality of life and a more prosperous lifestyle for the citizens of Lagos and other cities on the continent of Africa.”
Brooks said the US government, in providing support for this initiative, has demonstrated its belief that real solutions to African problems can best be developed by Africans.
He told the 50 participants from 15 countries across the continent that “it is especially gratifying that what has brought you here is your desire to advance good governance and accountability on the African continent.
“We are counting on you! The task is huge but every journey must begin with that first step. Perhaps sometime in the future, someone will cite this TechCamp as one of those first steps toward finding solutions to today’s problems.
“I strongly encourage everyone here to think broadly about ways you can forge partnerships and expand your network as Tech leaders.
“When former US President, Barack Obama, established the Young African Leaders Initiative in 2014, he did so out of the conviction that the future of Africa is largely in the hands of its youths. Your presence here today is a practical demonstration of that conviction.
“To assist you, the US State Department through International Information Programmes (IIP) has assembled a team of highly qualified trainers and experts who will help to bring out the best in you. These trainers have extensive experience from previous TechCamps held in Europe, Asia and in Africa. I understand that among these trainers and experts are some very accomplished Nigerians. That is fantastic!
“I am sure it is your hope that your skill and experience, the wisdom of the facilitators, or perhaps your commitment and passion will lead you and your colleagues to share some best practices or identify technological innovations that will help us in our quest to improve governance at all levels and ensure greater transparency and accountability.”