Meet Houcine Jedli, ALAMAU 2019 UNECA Committee Chairperson

DSC_0083

“Houcine Jedli, ALAMAU 2019 Committee Chairperson of  the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, tells us more about his passion for International Relations, his experience at Harvard Model United Nations 2018 Conference, as well as Economic Integration in the continent and its contributions to Pan-Africanism. 

Please tell us who Houcine Jedli is, where he is from and what are the experiences that have shaped you to be who you are today?

My name is Houcine Jedli, originally from the small town of Kasserine in the west of Tunisia. Every experience in my life changed the course of my life. I’ve had a variety of experiences in technology and business mainly from developing products to founding startups. All these experiences have helped me enhance my hard and soft skills. The most influential experience in my life is probably growing up with the greatest mother ever who helped me build confidence, resilience, and courage at a young age. If you are reading this, thanks mom!

When did you realize that you are interested in International Relations?

International Relations wasn’t something I thought I’d be interested in. I am not someone who’s passionate about following protocols and writing long pages of regulations and treaties. However, in the last few years, as I started to link the dots, I found out that international relations does, to a certain extent, influence all aspects of our lives: the countries we can visit, the prices of commodities and services, the technology that’s being developed, and even the lives of people we know and care about. The fact that International Relations can touch on a variety of elements all at once is what brought me to International Relations and brought to me the belief that there’s a space for everyone in International Relations regardless of their interests.

Houcine Picture

Tell us a little bit more about your experience at Harvard Model United Nations 2018 conference. What are some of the insights and knowledge that you gained from the conference?

Harvard MUN was a phenomenal experience! 3000 competitive students from the four corners of the planet gathering together to suggest solutions for world issues. As the representative of Equatorial Guinea, I was able to develop diplomatic argumentation that takes into consideration both the reality and the aspiration. Harvard MUN was also a great experience in understanding people and behavior: Being able to understand the motives every nation has helped me develop my communication skills in my daily life. Harvard MUN helped me realize the importance of every single detail in the work you do and the implications it may have on the bigger picture.

What is the work that you do now for ALAMAU 2019? 

After serving as Deputy Chair for New Partnership for Africa’s Development in ALAMAU 2018, I am currently chairing the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa which we will be discussing the Enhancement of Intra-continental Trade to Ensure Economic Integration. What I do consists mainly of preparing the study guide for my delegates through massive research on the problems and the opportunities our continent has with regards to trade. I also receive and offer feedback from the other committees’ chairpersons which helps us develop better ideas and improve the quality of our study guides.

Being a committee chairperson has been an excellent learning experience! Being able to develop research skills while discovering a topic that I am incredibly passionate about has been a pleasure. This is also contributing to my growth by allowing space for both individual and teamwork at the same time. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank every member of the research team of ALAMAU who has been making tremendous efforts to ensure the quality of the work we provide.

Please share a little bit with us about the topic you are working on for the ALAMAU 2019 conference.

a) What inspired you to delve into this area of research?

What I find interesting about Africa is that it’s the wealthiest continent, yet the poorest continent. The resources available on this land is used in the manufacturing of most high-tech products we use; yet, the infrastructure is not good, and diseases still continue to spread. This irrational contradiction wasn’t the case in one country but almost every country which made it seem more of a systematic problem than a national issue. This aroused my curiosity to examine carefully the issues and the mechanisms in place that led to unexpected consequences.

 b) How do you think Pan-Africanism and Economic Integration and Intra-Continental Trade are related (directly or indirectly)?

42463555_274084446565200_27647391679119360_n

Pan-Africanism can’t be complete without an economic integration in the continent. If a large number of African countries still trade with their colonizers more than their African neighbors, we have a problem. Unifying the African market will facilitate the growth of businesses and the share of prosperity all over the continent. A full economic integration will allow African goods to be cheaper for African companies and African consumers. Every African will be able to enter every African country, from Cape to Cairo, without a passport.

Do you have any piece of advice to our ALAMAU 2019 delegates in terms of getting prepared for the conference and research?

The research team has been working very hard to ensure the quality of the study guides to make sure you guys have a great learning experience so please make sure you read them. I can’t emphasize this enough! If you don’t, you will sit there for hours not knowing what’s going on and you won’t be able to represent your country or to participate constructively in the debate. There shouldn’t be any excuses for not preparing for the conference!

Also, prepare to deliver your speeches, to respond to questions and get ready to impress other delegates with your eloquence and your arguments.

Article edited by: Moitse Kemelo Moatshe

Follow ALAMAU on social media and holla at us!

Instagram: @alamau2019

Twitter: @alamau2019

Facebook: African Leadership Academy Model African Union. 

 

 

 

Advertisements

African Renaissance: The Restoration of the African Continent. Realizing the African Dream, how far are we?

AR Blog post

 

By Moitse Kemelo Moatshe

“African Renaissance”

You have probably come across this term whilst scrolling through your news feed on social media. This term also features a lot in the discourses of Africans, young and old, in the continent and in the diaspora and is slowly is gaining popularity.

African Renaissance seeks to answer these two popular questions: How do we reclaim and solidify our African identity as well as improve and develop different sectors of the continent to create African prosperity? And: How do we revive and embrace diverse African cultures and in the process use them to advance the continent and change its narrative? In this article, I will be going in depth to find out what this means for us today.

It goes without saying that the narrative that has often been associated with Africa (especially by the western world) has been one of doom and gloom. It’s always about the wars, the poverty, the alarming illiteracy rates, the economic corruption and leaders who fail to be accountable to their citizens.

When Cheikh Anta Diop first coined and pioneered the concept of “African Renaissance”, he addressed the fact that Africa would need to revive its languages and cultures, develop its political structures and ideologies as well as reach economic independence in order to attain prosperity. It is the concept of “African Renaissance” that looks at the potential of the continent and declares that with the right mindset, vision and outlook, Africa can and will revitalize its structures and systems in order to create opportunity for all, and positively change her narrative.

Former President of the Republic of South Africa, Thabo Mbeki, later on popularized this concept, reiterating the fact that Africa must reach a point of restoration i.e. restoring our economic freedom and independence, as well as restoring our identities in order to build foundations for sustainable growth and success.

                                                        AR Blog post Thabo

The underlying question in all of this is: how far have we already come as a continent as far as reaching the African Renaissance is concerned? How far are we in terms of attaining economic independence/freedom, reviving our cultures and languages and developing our political structures?

Even though countries in the continent have gained independence, Africa is still going through a period of neo-colonialism. A huge part of our culture, economy and political atmospheres are still under the influence of the western world.

Currently as it stands, Africa is still receiving financial aid/assistance from the western world. It is reported that in 2017, $45 billion of $75 billion allocated for the International Development Association was geared towards financing more than half of Sub-Saharan African countries.[1] This is an indication that as a continent, we still haven’t reached financial self-sufficiency and freedom, despite being the richest continent in terms of natural and mineral resources.

Southern and East Africa still stand as the regions with the highest HIV/AIDS prevalence in the world with an estimated number of 19.4 million people (as of 2016) living with HIV/AIDS in these two regions combined.[2]

Close to 37 languages in the continent are close to extinction, and about 300 remain endangered. We can see from this that the preservation and advancement of our languages and cultures is something that the continent is still struggling with.[3]

So, in many more ways than one, one could argue that perhaps we have not yet reached African Renaissance and that there are still persisting problems in the continent. To reach Diop and Mbeki’s vision of the restoration and renewal of Africa, we, the African youth, need to be taking up leadership roles and being in the forefront of driving and initiating change across all areas and sectors of the continent. These sectors being the judicial and policy-making sector, financial/economical sector, as well as the creative arts, languages and cultural sectors.

We need people from diverse backgrounds who are willing to synergize ideas, and come up with the best possible solutions to solve African problems from an Afro-centric point of view. We need to build African unity and have one voice, that way the continent can have much more power and influence in the international arena.

At ALAMAU, we realize and recognize the power in bringing young people together to be a part of the restoration of the continent. We acknowledge the fact that the youth are not the leaders of tomorrow, but the leaders of today, we are in our own way contributing to the renaissance of Africa through engaging young people in conversations affecting the continent.

 The question that still remains is:

How and what will you contribute to the revival of the continent?

Share with us on our social media:

Instagram- @alamau2019

Facebook- African Leadership Academy Model African Union

Twitter- @alamau2019

LinkedIn picture
The Deputy Chairperson of ALAMAU 2019, Moitse Kemelo Moatshe from Botswana. Moitse leads the Research team which comprises of the Committee Chairs, Committee Dynamics team as well as the Press Corps.

 

References:

1. “World Bank Group Announces Record $57 Billion for Sub-Saharan Africa” (World Bank, March 2017)
http://www.worldbank.org/en/news/press-release/2017/03/19/world-bank-group-announces–57-billion-for-sub-saharan-africa 

“African Region to Receive $45 Billion in Development Aid” (Lisa Schlein, VOA News, March 2017)
https://www.voanews.com/a/african-regions-to-receive-45-billion-in-development-aid/3773966.html
2.    “GLOBAL HIV AND AIDS STATISTICS” (Avert, August 2017)
https://www.avert.org/global-hiv-and-aids-statistics 

3.“LOSS OF LINGUISTIC DIVERSITY IN AFRICA” (MAARTEN MOUS Leiden University)

http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.218.5996&rep=rep1&type=pdf