“It is only us who can develop our nations not others for us.” Mr. Yemane Ghebreab, Head of Political Affairs at the PFDJ. Mr. Yemane’s seminar at the meeting of WFDY: Africans commission held at Asmara Palace under the theme “African Youth United for Peace and Sustainable Development and Fighting Against Imperialism!” indicates that protecting national interests is the homework of any given nation and particularly that of developing nations and above all that of the youth. In the WFDY African commission meeting, a number of African representatives of youth associations have come to discuss matters that stand as barriers in the process of nation building as well as in the process of empowering the contribution of the youth.
A number of African representatives of youth associations have come to discuss such matters that stand as barriers in the process of nation building as well as in the process of empowering the contribution of the youth.
“The goals which African leaders of the 1960s set out to realize still remain elusive.” What such a statement indicates is that all Africans have been very keen to create a ground where they could decide for themselves, but this has not yet been realized despite the good will on the part of all Africans.
The WFDY: African commotion meeting have discussed a number of very interesting issues such as “Youth and the Fight Against Neo-colonialism; the Eritrean Case” by Mr. Yemene Ghebreab, “Reflections on “African Youth United for Peace, Sustainable Development and Fighting Against Imperialism” by Professor Tasir Ali, Director of the Peace Building Center for the Horn of Africa (PACHA), “The Role of Mining in Nation Building” by Mr. Alem Kibreab, Director General of the Department of Mines.
Eritrea continues to stand against all odds and managed to secure national integrity. Its commitment to create a viable ground where future generations of the country enjoy the fruits of a preceding generation has been at the center of all national visions. This effort has been witnessed by the participants of the meeting. “The meeting of WFDY Regional Commotion for Africa is held in a country where imperialism is defeated. Eritreans have been resilient and proved how 9 ethnic groups and two major religions could live in harmony,” asserts Mr. Dalfino Hoster Guila, Vice President of WFDY.
A speech by Mr. Yemane was very insightful which enabled the participants from different African nations almost about all political, economic, and cultural matters of the country. Mr. Yemane highlighted that nationalism or patriotism, social justice, empowerment of human resource as the three pillars from which the overall guiding principles of the country are emanated from and which Eritrea has been diligently working on.
When he clarifies about nationalism he pointed out that the country belongs to all nationals and everybody in this country has an equal say in everything. “We have been working to make Eritrea a country of citizenship.” He said. Mr. Yamane underscored the importance of beauty in diversity as long as it is not used as a divisive factor that ruins national unity.
As regards social justice Mr. Yemane reiterated that Eritrea has been working hard to provide access to social services to all nationals disadvantaged in the past (During colonial times). In a situation where there is massive inequality, it is hard to speak about the prevalence of social justice. And Eritrea has chosen a path that prioritizes the equality of all nationals. However, Mr. Yemane makes it clear that the country has a long journey to go so as to achieve economic independence that have not yet been fully realized.
Asked what enabled Eritrea to keep the national unity intact despite being a new nation, Mr. Yemane said “The bitter struggle for independence has by far united us. Staying in the strongholds for a lengthy period of time has contributed to the prevalence of the existing harmony. The EPLF exerted its level best effort to make sure such unity of nationals is maintained, but unity is by large the legacy of the Eritrean people. This is also the product of the leadership which works to make sure such unity is not jeopardized.”
As regards to the prevailing situation of hegemony in various domains, Mr. Yemane shared his views with the participants of the meeting saying “There this nothing wrong with other powers that work to achieve their vested interests; but it is up to the poor to change the reality. Adding value to the national resources by processing and manufacturing them locally is a remedial solution to Africa’s economic crisis that is riddled with importing such resources again at a high cost.”
In a welcoming remark he made at the meeting Mr. Saleh Ahmedin, Chairperson of National Union of Eritrean Youth and Students (NUEYS) on his part said that welcoming exploiters as helpers is what is aggravating the challenges of Africans. Africa has despite its all resources become a platform for the worst human tragedies. And it is time to wake up and to ensure the well-being of future generations.
Valuable comments and also thoughts of great depth were shared in the WFDY: African Commission meeting held in Asmara “We have to make peace the daily living conditions of people; otherwise people do not buy abstract ideas or ideologies that overemphasize the need for peace or stability. If we are divided we open the door for intervention and the entire process of change is jeopardized.” Has been the view shared by Prof. Tasir Ali.
In a message of solidarity he shared in the gathering of African youth, South African Ambassador to Eritrea Prof. Iqbal Jhazbhay cited an article written by Andre Veltchek’s Eritrea “African Ideological Ebola for Imperialists”
“Eritrea – a nation unwilling to sacrifice its citizens for the whims of the Empire and its corporations” Is a line taken from the Veltchek’s article in which Prof. Iqbal. Jhazbhay cited to support Eritrea’s commitment towards creating a nation of pride.
The meeting has not only enabled the participants from different African nations to learn about Eritrean youth alone but they have acquired an understanding about the overall economic, political as well as topics that are related to culture and societal make up of a nation.
“This meeting would enable us to learn from the experiences of African youth and WFDY and also to share the modest experience we have in Eritrea with you.” Mr. Yemene Ghebreab stated in his opening statement. And it was so that all participants from different African states shared their views and poured out their questions and were welcomed by gratifying answers. Members of youth association from Namibia have also shared their respective experiences back home as regards women’s participation in leadership. Artisanal mining practices were also discussed following to a presentation by Mr. Alem Kibreab, Director General of the Department of Mines.
Eritrea’s mining sector really gives the African participants a clear picture and has become a good experience they could compare with the practices they adhere back home. Mr. Alem states that Eritrea has been committed in its mining policy to be favorable for investment- a mining policy that treats all mining companies equally and a mining law that never fluctuates with the ups and downs of prices.
Asked how much is the mining sector contributing towards empowering youth, Mr. Alem said that the revenues collected from mining have been used in development of infrastructure. This many not be only related to the physical infrastructure but in the provision of social services. “What has been obtained from the ground has been returned to the ground (infrastructure)” is what Mr. Alem puts in simple words.
Mr. Alem also expressed that Eritrea has learned from failures witnessed in other developing countries and managed to come out with a mining policy that leaves no room for exploitation. So, if the Ministry of Mines and Energy is entitled to carrying out all the licensing and regulation activities, but ENAMCO (Eritrean National Mining Company) is under the Ministry of Finance. This policy has been adopted to get rid of a situation where the regulator becomes the operator. Eritrea is a shareholder of the mining undertakings that have been carried out in the country and it equally shares not only the benefit but also the risk as well.
After extensive deliberations on different issues of mutual concern, the participants of WFDY: African Commission meeting enjoyed a cultural performance staged by Sbrit cultural troupe at a dinner reception held at Asmara Palace in the evening hours of 22nd January 2015 and also made closing and farewell remarks. The participants from different African states have also enjoyed a steam locomotive trip to Nefasit on 23rd January 2015. This enabled the participants not only to learn a great deal of the country through discussions but through making personal observations.