Welcome dear fellow readers to the African Leadership Academy’s Model African Union Press Corp Blog. This year we have decided to take it up a notch and give you an early sneak peek into who we are, what we do and how we do it. Which includes an exclusive pass into the long year journey of creating the 2018 ALAMAU conference.
This marks the 5th year since the beginning of Africa’s first Model African Union, simulated by the youth of the continent and abroad. Having more than 500 delegates, from more than 25 different nationalities so far represented in our conference, we plan to make the upcoming conference even grander.With a special year, comes even better features and bigger events.We will be giving you the inside scoop on the different teams behind the scenes: from the media and the logistics teams to the secretariat and the research teams.
As it stands, we have already taken it down to the streets and commenced scouting for the most devoted and passionate African youth—for this amazing conference. We have begun celebrating our continent on our social media, from the segments on our Instagram of “ALAMAU Weekly”, to “Quotes of the Week”; we have even taken it to our Snapchat with our live, engaging videos.
We want to connect with you. So don’t forget to read and share our blog posts every fortnight to find out more about those important aspects of our ALAMAU 2018 journey. Watch out for our posts not only on the blog but on all our social media.
By the Director of Press Corp, Sandra Chipeta
By Katlego Paakanyo, Daily Nation (Kenya) correspondent
Many African students are sent overseas to study medicine, money is spent on the course, which covers the duration of seven years, only to have them settle in their respective countries of study, never returning home to practice. The Executive council, in an attempt to address the topic of education and how it links with the strengthening of healthcare facilities and services to combat infectious diseases, delved deep into solutions for the current curricula echoing the need to panel-beat it to suit the African continent.
A motion by the Republic of Ivory Coast to assess tertiary education and how it may be reformed to aid combating infectious diseases lead to the most productive debate for the committee yet. Quite opinionated and realizing the importance of addressing the Education system, delegates did not shy away from suggesting solutions to current problems. In her speech, the delegate from the Republic of Equatorial Guinea stated that “The curricula need to cover prevalent infectious diseases in Africa” further putting emphasis on that money cannot be spent on sponsoring students to study overseas, as although what they learn may be advanced, it may not necessarily fit well into the African puzzle. In addition to the point raised by a fellow delegate, the Republique du Cote D’Ivoire delegate added to the discussion, highlighting the fact that relevance plays a huge role when addressing matters which may be unique to a particular demographic setup, in this case a disease such as Ebola, “trained medical professionals will be able to see problems in Africa since they will be trained in Africa for pressing diseases in Africa”, he added.
Delegates were quick to point out that although changing the tertiary education syllabi might be an effective tool in ensuring progress when combating infectious diseases, the solution may take a long time to implement, they therefore went on to suggest equally significant solutions which would gradually progress the continent to having a specialized tertiary school system. The Federal Republic of Nigeria representative to the council affirmed the need to start off small, pointing out that “Governments should mandate students currently studying medicine abroad to return to their nations after completing their courses”, to prevent the brain-drain which countries are currently facing. There will also be a gradual introduction of the specialized curricula to medical schools across the continent, to a point where eight years into the future the system followed will be highly specialized, including procedural matters such as actions to follow in case there is an outbreak of a deadly infectious disease.
Evidently, the Executive Council is driving the continent on the right path to combating the most pressing infectious diseases at the moment. This is the first step to diminishing the current dependence on external sources for medical training and expertise. The presented substantial solutions when implemented will see the medical arena improved immensely.
Katlego Paakanyo, Daily Nation (Kenya) correspondent
Etiquette. The difference between a mediocre meeting and an impactful assembly of various nations, adamant and determined to resolve issues of concern across the continent – combating infectious diseases, intra-African trade and education systems – is the level of propriety displayed by all present parties. This includes abiding by the rules and following procedure, avoiding stepping on toes at all costs.
This morning, the Executive council saw an unorthodox occurrence, with one of the delegates appearing in council without their placard, a deed which was frowned on by the dais as well as the various nations represented. When asked to speak on the matter, a fellow delegate pointed out that “it disrupted procedure since we were unable to start on time as the matter was still being addressed”, pointing out just how important it is that delegates at the ALAMAU 2017 are considerate on how their actions affect the proceedings.
A placard is to a delegate what a license is to a driver, what a ballot paper is to a voter and ultimately what a national anthem is to an independent country; these words were echoed by the Executive Council Chairperson, Aya Somai, as she noted “though it seems like a minor issue, it is in fact quite significant”, further adding that a placard is the one item which gives a delegate the legitimacy to contribute in discussions and represent their country well.
When asked to speak on the issue, the delegate for the Republic of Liberia humbled himself, “I would just like to apologize for being careless” evidently mortified and speaking with remorse. Propriety dictates that rules be followed at all times and respect be shown, by delegates to each other, staff and advisors all the like.
By Ekow Bentsi-Enchill, Reuters correspondent
I want to take this opportunity to commend ALApella, whose scintillating performance at yesterday’s opening ceremony has thrilled me beyond measure, especially considering the fact that every member of the acapella group was involved in today’s proceedings as a representative of a country. I will try to explain exactly what made their performance pleasurable.
I was first excited by the wordplay on the group’s name, and mused over how convenient it was that the school’s initials fit in ever so perfectly with the word ‘acapella’. The next thing that caught my eye was the blend of traditional fashion represented, for each costume worn bore a wealth of historical and cultural significance apparent to the eye of the observer. Their smiles beamed at me from the stage, demanding my attention, and I felt as though I was being bombarded by millions of rays of light.
Then the singing began. The first song, Emarabini, touched me greatly due to its familiarity. However, I had never heard a rendition of it with as much precision and clarity as ALApella brought to the table. Guided by Mr Fred Zucule, each bar was masterfully orchestrated, their tempo unwavering. Moreover, I was impressed by their discipline, as each singer fixed their eyes on Fred for the entirety of their performance, mimicking to the letter his hand gestures as the song unfolded.
The second song pleased me the most because it demonstrated the ability of African artists to harness extra-continental techniques and make them truly African. This song made use of a typically European contrapuntal structure and a wide range of dynamics, yet had a completely African touch. It’s rhythm, though moderate and measured, exuded African characteristics. It made me feel light on my feet and filled me with an urge to get up and dance, in a way that no non-African song ever could.
I am truly bewildered by the range of talents God chooses to give people, and I can confidently say that He didn’t hold back for ALApella, whose performances yesterday have impressed me in more ways than one, and impacted me in a way I envision to be long-lasting.
By Maeva Kadjo, CNN correspondent
Delegates and chair of the Pan-African Parliament gathered in lecture room 15 for the first committee session. It started with one minute opening speeches about each country’s opinion on the topic of promoting the rule of law, accountability and transparency in public governance performed by the delegates of various countries. Following the opening speeches, the delegates of Angola, Egypt and Algeria proposed motions to moderate caucus. The importance of foreign aid and the work of the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) were discussed.
Some delegates seemed to be tensed and did not speak up or ask any point of information so the committee took a break. They gathered in the middle of the room and played a game called splat. Someone told a story that included the name of the countries present in committee. When a delegate heard the name of their country, they had to bend to avoid being shot by another delegate’s hand. The delegate of the republic of Central African republic won.
The delegates returned to the moderated caucus, proposed motions and discussed how African government could sanction corrupt government officials. Then they took a snack break outside and enjoyed the great food and drink. After, they resumed the session, moved to an unmoderated caucus, made groups, discussed ideas and shared them with the entire committee before leaving for lunch.
By Ekow Bentsi-Enchill, Reuters correspondent
On the 16th of March 2017, the African Commission on Science and Technology held its first session in which a moderated caucus was put in place at 10:30 AM to determine how to fund the technological sector of their home countries. The delegates had notable solutions, all of which had their pros and cons.
The overarching motif in each solution was that each country had to increase their revenue. The delegate of Ivory Coast suggested that this be done by raising taxes. Even though this would indeed provide the wherewithal to fund the technological sector, it could cause companies looking to lower expenditure to be repelled by the country’s high taxes.
Thereafter, the delegate of the Gabonese Republic advocated for their government to implement policies that are business-friendly, promoting the growth of local businesses. However, this may well lead to the influx of foreign business and money going out of the country, rather than the money circulating around the country.
Subsequently, the delegate of Rwanda proposed “cross-border market integration”-where Rwanda with its booming telecommunications industry, would set up shop in its neighbouring countries- providing services to those countries whilst gaining revenue. Whilst this seems to bear a multitude of advantages, one cannot account for the ulterior motives of the donor of the service or the recipient of the service.
One thing that remains true is that a techno-friendly Africa is an Africa of progress and one we should strive for in our resolutions this week.
By Kweku Appiah, AlJazeera correspondent
Our committee session in the peace and security council started off with a strange feeling in the air. The room filled with the most prominent members of their schools’ debate, MUN and Pan African club, ready to educate, resolve and help the other countries in their committee. During the long formality of the opening speeches which is usually and long and daunting task to stay awake and vibrant whilst 15 people take their time and use fancy words to “create dominance” in their committee. But Luckily for everyone one in the room there were a few Delegates who took this opportunity to educate during this period and set the committee in a helpful debate on what we are really doing with terrorism.
The Two delegates who stood out for me were the delegates of Congo and Zambia. The delegate of Zambia elaborated on the use of education to help break down terrorist from the grassroots. He wanted the committee to approve his motion to forget the ‘colonial system of education’ and bring up regional education which would allow the students to be taught what they really need to is teach children so that they have the adequate skills to run and help their economies profitably. The point he made was a well thought point but it is hypothetical. It is just not possible for countries to ditch the western education system just like that and move onto a new unknown, unproven and risky system. This needs funds and public belief two things that don’t come easily.
The Second Delegate who really impressed me was the delegate of Congo. He started off by bringing out the pan Africanism side of his country to get the support of other countries and make his point easier to understand. Then he goes on to elaborate the fact that 1/3 of the lives lost to terrorism are from Africa. This is a concerning matter that Mr Deprose Muchena touched on slightly yesterday in the opening. So for him to link his ideas with an amazing speech from a human rights activists and a pan Africanist is exactly what we are here to do. We hope this spirit of curiosity and Africanism can continue to flow across this committee.
By Jadini Nzomo, BBC correspondent
During the first committee meeting for the committee on futuristic Education, my attention was captured by two individuals, the representative of Guinea and Kenya. Both put forward very effective ways to enhance futuristic education and have identified the barricade that is hindering it, corruption.
These individuals took part in all areas of the meeting including proposing motions, opposing motions and providing relevant answers and recommendations. Furthermore, they were enthusiastic in the manner that they put forward their ideas and were open to suggestions and questions. The delegates deliberated upon the topic about the current problems that education systems face in Africa and used this topic as a template to propose solutions which will effectively aid education in Africa. The delegates proposed an education relevant to the economics stronghold of the specific country, the delegate representative of Kenya used the example of agriculture in Kenya and should provide an education which would help develop the stronghold of a country and include a larger variety of other subjects to enhance other character aspects required to entire what the world has to open.
The delegates also debated about the quality of the teachers, the external requirements needed for one to be given the job, a motion suggested by the representative of Kenya. They say that the teachers must have majored in psychology and counseling to be able to relate with their students and help them In situations in which they need help and support to endure whatever it is that they are going through.
The delegates also put forward the need for the governments to put some funds into this drive to provide a better, more efficient, more practical and more available education, futuristic education.
By Jadini Nzomo, BBC correspondent
ALAMAU 2017 welcomes all the delegates with an extremely vibrant opening ceremony with eccentric music from different parts of Africa with the dancing making truly amazing first impression. The opening ceremony was officially kicked off by the ALA choir, ALApella, which captured the audience’s attention with two songs, one sung in Swahili about the desire for Africa to be at the top.
Following the choir was a passionate speech by the dean of the academy, Hatim Eltayeb, which deliberated upon the fact that practice is the way to success. He gives us his past experiences from conferences that he has attended and explains what attributes in all delegates will be developed during this conference.
Shortly after was an inspiring speech from the director of international relations council, Mr Faith Abiodun. He begins with informing us
about current affairs in Africa at the moment and uses this to stress the fact that we don’t have time and must put our ideas together to make change in Africa. We, the youth, must put our ideas together to make change in Africa and we cannot wait to be adults to create change.
Mr Deprose Muchena, the key note speaker, emphasizes the fact that Africa has the fastest growing economies with an economic growth of 5% every year but we don’t take advantage our privileges such as land and natural resources to boost development Africa. He goes on to explain how we, Africans, are destroying each other and succumbing to the idea that we are impoverished and have nothing to offer. He fought these ideas using quotes from revolutionaries such as Kwame Nkurumah, he planted the idea that corruption could be tarnished if we, the generation of today, make a difference. Mr Muchena, in conclusion, insisted that the limitation of our mind may only hinder us from progressing to a better Africa.
12 days to ALAMAU 2017! Position papers and editorial articles have been submitted. They are currently being reviewed by committee chairs. I must say that the chairs are extremely happy with the received work and are eager to meet the people behind the papers they’ve read.
As the countdown continues, everyone is on overdrive as they prepare for the conference. Many are going out to buy new suits or dresses for the committee sessions, but don’t forget your traditional attire for the cultural night. Others are conducting more research to have a better grasp of their topic—it never hurts to sound smart when you’re presenting arguments.
Moreover, all the chairs are prepping for the experience that is to come. Our man behind the chair, Utani Hikuam, said, “I am meditating—getting myself mentally, intellectually and emotionally ready for the conference.” Sounds very deep, but I suppose this is necessary when one’s expecting heated arguments about sensitive topics. In addition, tons of practice and planning is going into making the cultural night and the gala dinner memorable events for all. So much is going into making this year’s conference a success.
With all of this said, how are you getting yourself ready for the conference?
Stay connected and watch out for more from the Press Corps.
By Director of Press Corps, Fred Zucule.
P.S. Don’t forget to order a bottle or a hoodie to remember this year’s conference.