Alpha Oumar Konare, the chairman of the African Union, has called on intellectuals from within and outsideAfrica to contribute and help tackle the challenges facing the continent. He was speaking at the first Conference of Intellectuals from Africa and the Diaspora (CIAD) in the Senegalese capital, Dakar. He appealed to African leaders to join forces with their academic communities to determine a new direction for the continent and find lasting solutions to its problems.
The four-day gathering, held under the theme, Africa in the 21st Century: Integration and Renaissance", was attended by over 700 intellectuals from Africa, the Americas, Caribbean, Europe and the Arab World.
Speaking to New African on the prospect of African leaders and intellectuals working together, Konare urged Africans leaders to "open their doors to African intellectuals and give them the attention they deserved so they could help in the transformation of our countries into lands of freedom and transparency". Commenting on the slow progress of some African countries, Konare said it was because intellectuals had not been given their rightful roles in national development.
A consensus emerged from the conference of the need to find a way to kick-start the continent's reconstruction...