Adebola Williams, the co-founder of RED, has urged the international community to support the aspirations of young Africans changing the negative narratives about the continent.
Backstory: Williams said this at the inaugural edition of the European Conservatives and Reformists African Summit which took place in Brussels, Belgium on Wednesday, 9 January 2019.
The conference, attended by policymakers and thought leaders from across the world, aimed at examining and strengthening opportunities for collaborative partnership between the European Union and Africa on democracy, security, economy, health-related issues, etc.
Speaking at the event, the media entrepreneur and youth advocate called on Europe to discontinue its top-down foreign policy approach towards Africa while emphasizing the need for culture and citizen-driven engagement.
“Africa needs a citizen-driven, culture-based approach to governance, and not the top-bottom, imported one that has been propagated for years without desired results,” Williams said.
He also highlighted the corruption allegations surrounding millions of Euros in aids finance from donors to support African countries, explaining that such monies are re-routed to safe havens and personal accounts.
“If the EU really wants to help Africa, it must assist those with their feet on the ground to make the change. If the EU cannot achieve this, the youth of Africa will, because our passion is bigger than our problem.”
Williams added that “The European Union, more than ever in its history, needs to collaborate actively with these foot soldiers of democratic growth in Africa to promote good governance and demographic dividend. It must focus on developing a new crop of young, talented Africans with the wherewithal to create value and change the fortunes of the continent.”
He called on citizens to examine the impact of government activities while noting that overwhelming movements that only start and conclude within the 12 months preceding election years in any country will hardly change anything.
Williams was part of a group of speakers which included Chairperson, Unitel, Isabel Dos Santos; European Parliament President, Antonio Tajani; and Domenico Rosa, the Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development, European.