For Africa to achieve a holistic transformation, there is need for optimal utilisation of resources and a deliberate effort to clear the dark image of the continent that has largely been painted by the western media.
This was observed Wednesday during the African Biblical Leadership Initiative (ABLI) Forum that started in Kigali yesterday, bringing together top religious and political leaders from across the continent and beyond.
The forum has attracted over 1,000 delegates and it is running held under theme; ‘From trauma to Triumph: Synergise Leadership for Healing and Harmony.’
In his remarks, Archbishop Antoine Kambanda, the legal representative of the Bible Society of Rwanda, said that Africans are progressively looking to homegrown solutions to transform their countries.
Archbishop Antoine Kambanda, the legal representative of the Bible Society of Rwanda gives a gift to the Prime Minister during the conference
However, Kambanda, who is also the Archbishop of Kigali in the Catholic Church, challenged leaders on the continent to jointly fight corruption and mismanagement of African resources.
He added that for evident progress to manifest, there is need to invest in human capital and empower the young generation to project the good image of the continent and discredit western stereotypes.
“Our key mission and vision as Bible society in Africa and beyond, is not limited to only translating the bible, publishing and distributing it, we also contribute to the holistic transformation of African leadership and societies in order to build strong Christian values and live biblical principles empowering the upcoming youth leaders with strong Godly leadership principles,” Kambanda said.
Ndidi Nwuneli a social entrepreneur and founder of LEAP Africa an institute that offers leadership training in Nigeria said that it is possible for Africa to address its challenges in this lifetime.
“If other countries are doing it, what is preventing us? We have the best brains, we have fertile land, we have technology and we can leapfrog. We need to address the skills gap, to use our spaces to teach political skills where people understand the right to vote and what it means, to teach about equity and justice and to teach about gender equality,” she said.
With this, she commended Rwanda’s inclusive approach to development, where women have been made key stakeholders in the nation’s development.
“As Africans, we continue to be made proud by Rwanda not only because Kigali is the cleanest city in the world but also because of the dramatic economic and social mobility occurring in the country and the powerful political role that women play,” she said.
Chorale de Kigali singing in the conference in Kigali yesterday
In regards to the event, Nwuneli said churches have a crucial role in championing a shift in mind set on the continent, but to be able to do this, she said, there was need for a unity of purpose.
“The church has to be united and live by example; it also has to take on difficult topics such as family planning, sexual abuse, corruption, and other social ills.
Addressing the gathering, Prime Minister Edouard Ngirente commended the church’s contribution in Rwanda’s journey of unity and reconciliation.
Within the framework of achieving unity and reconciliation among Rwandans, he said the Government opted for home-grown solutions (such as Gacaca courts) noting that such initiatives were shaped by fusing traditional and biblical values.
“It is commendable that the Bible society and the churches worked hand in hand with government and non-government institutions. This partnership brings about community development social welfare in society,” he said.
Ngirente also highlighted the role of the youth in the development of a nation.
He said that investing in the youth and providing them with proper value orientation is not an option, adding that the youth should be at the forefront of innovation, leadership and decision making.
“I am proud that the issue of youth is a major focus of African Biblical Leadership Initiative,” the Premier noted.
Renowned American evangelist and author, Rick Warren, said that there is a lot to celebrate about Africa noting that, the strength and future of the Church is Africa.
He also applauded Rwanda’s progress noting that years ago Rwanda was known mostly for what happened in the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi and that now the world knows it for its progress.
“And this is something to celebrate, you may not realise this because you live here all the time, but the rest of the world is realising this. Many want to come and learn from Rwanda, this is why we have much to celebrate my brothers and sisters,” he added.
Delegates are from different countries in the world
Government officials and different clerics pose for a group photo along the African Biblical Leadership Initiative (ABLI) Forum that started in Kigali yesterday.
Hazza Mohammed Falah Kharsan Alqahtani, the Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates interacts with clerics
Mayor of Kigali City Pudence Rubingisa attended the African Biblical Leadership Initiative (ABLI) Forum that started in Kigali yesterday
Ndidi Nwuneli a social entrepreneur and founder of LEAP Africa an institute that offers leadership training in Nigeria, shares her remarks in the conference
Pastor Rick Warren showing his Rwandan passport to the gathering
Prime Minister Edouard Ngirente addressing the gathering,
Prime Minister Edouard Ngirente speaking with Minister of Local Government Prof Anastase Shyaka
The American evangelical Christian pastor Rick Warren poses with other clerics in a photo
The conference is being held under theme from trauma to triumph. Synergise leadership for healing and harmony