Sunday, January 16, 2011

THE IMPORTANCE OF PEACE TO NATION BUILDING AND ECONOMIC SUSTAINABILITY AND STABILITY OF AFRICA

2nd PRICE WINNER OF DAFI STUDENT ASSOCIATION, GHANA ESSAY COMPETITION:
Proverbs asserts, “The lion does not turn around when a small dog barks” African nations have no right to create uproar and imminent chaos for ourselves by ignoring the solid importance of Peace! A great transition of Africa’s suffering is linked to Africans inabilities to recognize the significance of Peace to Nation Building and Economic Sustainability and Stability. As a young Liberian youth residing on the Buduburam Settlement, my eyes and ears have fetched the awful distress of violent conflicts, political instability, or unjust policies and practices overlooking ‘Peace,’ the final source of Africa’s liberation. I am convinced that all Africans, especially 21st Century youths must take an oath of speaking Peace and permanently stick to our word. As my grandfather would affirm, “A word uttered cannot be taken back!”
An African ancestor once declared, “Peace is costly but it is worth the expense.” The term "peace-building" came into widespread use after 1992 when Boutros Boutros-Ghali, then United Nations Secretary-General, announced his Agenda for Peace (Boutros-Ghali, 1992). Since then, "peace-building" has become a broadly used but often ill-defined term connoting activities that go beyond crisis intervention such as longer-term development, and building of governance structures and institutions. African leaders must value peace because it creates love in the hearts of citizens to patronize, prioritize and protect their culture as they walk towards the progress of an ‘African success.’
Why Africa lags behind in Nation Building, Economic Sustainability and Stability is the subject of endless debates. I will not dwell on them at length here. My contention runs as follows: The peace development strategies in Africa that we must employ to produce the desired growth-related objectives must be identify.  In fact, the ability on the part of policy/decision makers to establish a meaningful "economic plan" to enhance stability for the good of the society (the common good) must be considered and implemented. Robert Fulghum wisely wrote, “Peace is not something you wish for; it's something you make, something you do, something you are, something you give away.”
Firstly, Nation-building refers to the process of constructing or structuring a national identity using the power of the state. In Africa, this process is important because it aims at the unification of the people or peoples within the state so that it remains politically stable and viable in the long run. On this note, the presence of peace enables Nation-building to involve the use of populace for major infrastructural development to foster social harmony and economic growth.
Consider what Rob Blagogevich remarked, “A successful economic development strategy must focus on improving the skills of the area's workforce, reducing the cost of doing business and making available the resources business needs to compete and thrive in today's global economy.” Eventually, peace multiplies Africa’s Economic Sustainability by creating an environment where the available resources can profit every African nation. Years back in my JSS class, I was asked: ‘Johnson, how can peace sustain Liberia’s economy?’ Obviously, my simple reply   was: ‘I think, when the hearts of all Liberians are fill with the spirit of love and desire for peace, it will stop the war so that, business people can invest to promote our economy.’ Presently, I believe that my rejoinder for tranquility is a necessary tool for all African nations.
Previously, I have learned that the emphasis of the United Nations has been on structural transformation, with a primary focus on institutional reform. I believe this strategy will promote the importance to the image of Nation Building and Economic Sustainability and the Stability of Africa. The value of peace to Africa is so good that the ancestors of our past struggle to posses it. My father would say, ‘Where there is peace there is hope. And where there is hope life gives birth to love. Love indeed gives birth to development.’
Secondly, African will never be stable without peace. The peace we seek from other foreign nations and great organizations are right in the hearts of every African. Peace can fix walls of all disadvantaged hearts across Africa. The foundation of all forms of development of Africa has its DNA in peace. Africa can and should not do away without it for the future of Africa highly depends on it.
Evidently, I have read that ‘Sustainable development’ is a pattern of resourceful mechanism   that aims to meet human needs while preserving the environment so that these needs can be met not only in the present, but also for future generations. The importance of Peace to Economic sustainability and stability of Africa is necessary to meet the need of the present generation, coupled with the positive actions of African leaders towards our future generations. Peace will tie the Economic Sustainability and stability together with a natural system of the development of Africa
Thirdly, Only peaceful hearts and peaceful minds enjoy freedom. I like what Rollo May said, “Freedom is man's capacity to take a hand in his own development. It is our capacity to mold ourselves.” A Ghanaian mother who struggle in Gomoa central market under a hot sun to sustain her eight kids, has more energy, courage and great determination to work if peace reign in her nation and among her fellow sisters and brothers.
Winston Churchill mused, “If the human race wishes to have a prolonged and indefinite period of material prosperity, they have only got to behave in a peaceful and helpful way toward one another.” We should understand that the importance of peace to Nation Building and Economic Sustainability and Stability of Africa involves a full range of approaches, processes, and stages needed for transformation toward more sustainable, peaceful relationships and governance modes and structures. This can be done by building legal and human rights institutions as well as fair and effective governance and dispute resolution processes and systems. To be in effective peace-building activities requires careful and participatory planning; coordination among various efforts, and sustained commitments by both external and internal partners who want to see a developed Africa.
Over the past years as a youth, nothing bothers me so mush as knowing fully well that my host country – Ghana has the peace my nation Liberia seeks. And knowing this, it troubles me greatly to be thrown back by war. This is a worried and painful experience. The increase of civil wars and trans-boarder wars has turned Africa into a hotbed of ignominious strife. A friends said, ‘The last decade has witnessed the collapse of the nation-state in Somalia, Liberia, Rwanda and Congo, and the general failure of national development plans throughout the continent.’
Without peace, Africa cannot lock itself out from poverty, ignorance and diseases and must where necessary, respond to the competitive forces in Nation Building and Economic Sustainability and Stability. However, the blind pursuit of the dictates of the market will not engender the peace, stability and security that Africa needs. We must ask ourselves, ‘What does Peace mean for development?’ The American president, John F. Kennedy gently said, “Peace is a daily, a weekly, a monthly process, gradually changing opinions, slowly eroding old barriers, quietly building new structures.”
To summarize the Importance of Peace to Nation Building and Economic Sustainability and Stability of Africa, let’s consider the recommendation of Mother Teresa, “If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.” Let it be noted that, the importance of Peace in this Essay is ‘an advance study for fundamental change, a mental appeal of young Africans as a means to foster stability, construct economic sustainability, and move forward with nation building.
Conclusively, the challenge of attaining sustained economic development, stability and building nations in Africa include both the removal of constraints and our ability to ask God for peace.  The gateway to peace is righteousness. It calls for partnership and collaboration between donor agencies, national governments, church institutions and local communities. Above all, African development must be built on values, which are at once social, economic, moral and religious. Bible declares, “If my people who are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sins, and will heal their land.” Genuine lasting peace comes from God through Jesus Christ, because Jesus is the Peace of this world.
Peace Promotes Nation Building
Peace Creates Economic Sustainability
Peace Procures Stability
God Bless AFRICA