The Fifth Pan-African Congress held in Manchester in October 1945 was a landmark occasion for Africa. The attendee list included the likes of Kwame Nkrumah, Jomo Kenyatta, Hastings Banda and Obafemi Awolowo. That gathering gave these men the impetus to return to their countries with the call of “Self Government Now!” The independence movements they led would achieve just that.
After Ghana achieved independence in 1957, Kwame Nkrumah, ever the pan-African champion, organised the Accra Conference in April 1958. The leaders of Africa’s seven other independent states (Libya, Ethiopia, Liberia, Morocco, Tunisia, Sudan and Egypt) met to discuss common problems and work out solutions. That was just the beginning.
In December of that year, numerous political and public organisations across the continent gathered in Accra once again for the All-African People’s Conference with the theme, “Hands off Africa! Africa must be free!” With meetings in Tunis and Cairo in subsequent years, this All-African People’s Conference evolved into the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) in 1963, the forerunner of today’s African Union (AU).
After years of poor leadership in Africa, there is a call for a new generation of leaders who are indeed emerging. And there is no better example for them to follow than Nkrumah’s generation of leaders who gained momentum in their fight against colonialism through building a community of leaders.
Through the Programme for African Leadership (PfAL), LSE is seeking to engage with those leaders, to help them develop continent-wide networks as a forum to discuss their common challenges and develop solutions. The first programme which was held in March 2012, included professionals working in the fields of human rights, health, media, business, education and community development. While at LSE, they spent time exchanging ideas with LSE academics who are experts in their field.
Do you see yourself at the vanguard of a changing Africa? If so, you may want to apply to be part of the second cohort of LSE’s Programme for African Leadership which takes place in London, 3-21 September 2012.