Ibrahim warns youth could revolt

2013-08-19 00:00

THE issue of land reform in South Africa is very important and the policy of a willing seller and willing buyer is not working.

Delivering the 11th Nelson Mandela memorial lecture at Unisa in Johannesburg, Dr Mo Ibrahim, academic, founder and chair of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, asked whether it was not time “for people to seek other solutions” inside the Constitution.

Ibrahim spoke on building social cohesion and said the topic encompassed more than a passport or identity document. “[Social cohesion] is where we achieve common purpose as citizens and when we really feel that we have equitable access and participation in the political, economic, social and cultural life of our country.

“It’s not about entitlement, but about equal opportunities and hope,” he said.

Ibrahim said South Africa was the least equitable country in the world.

He said black empowerment aimed to bridge the gap between the rich and the poor and suggested it was time to check if it help really bridge the gap between the rich and the poor.

Ibrahim said the youth could not be excluded from any talk on social cohesion. He said half of the African population is below 19 years old. This is the largest constituency in Africa. “This can be wonderful news but it can also be a major problem for us.”

Ibrahim predicted that China would experience a crisis within the next 10 to 20 years because they do not have many young people. He said South Africa had a wonderful prospect with the huge productivity its young people could bring to factories, land and places of work, but first the country needed to do two things: “The first thing will have to be attention to education and training of that group of young people. What are we preparing them for? Is our education system matching our business needs? Are we producing the kind of people that future jobs will require? He said a tsunami of young Africans want jobs jobs each year, and warned that no jobs for them could be a recipe for a serious revolution.

On the topic of African economic integration, he said only 11% of Africa’s trade was among Africans. Citing how he, a Sudanese, always carries a British passport whenever he travels in Africa “because l am welcome”, he called for freedom of movement for people, good and capital over borders.

Ibrahim said Africa had “a deficit in leadership” in all of 54 states. “We have a serious deficit in leadership. South Africa needs to step up and really play a better role in working with Africa.

“We need a cohesive voice on the issues of transparency, tax evasion and a lesser transfer of funds, a lot of issues really important for Africa, where we really need your strong voice to be there,” he said.

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