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African Industrialist And Philantropist Calls On African Youth To Develop And Uphold A Bill Of Responsibilities

African Industrialist And Philantropist Calls On African Youth To Develop And Uphold A Bill Of Responsibilities

May 2014

Libreville, 23 May. Ivor Ichikowitz, Founder and Executive Chairman of Paramount Group, Africa’s largest privately owned defence and aerospace business and Founder of the Ichikowitz Family Foundation, an African charitable foundation focusing on youth empowerment, has challenged the young people of Africa to find new ways to reduce poverty and enhance innovation while warning that the role of government’s are limited to creating enabling environments for citizens to build their own prosperity.

Ichikowitz was addressing the world’s leading Pan-African business summit, the New York Forum Africa where more than 1,500 business and political leaders as well as heads of state have gathered to discuss the transformation of Africa. Following speeches delivered by the President of Gabon, Ali Bongo Odima, who hosted the Forum, President Paul Kagame of Rwanda and President of Chad, Idriss Deby to the first ever African Citizen’s Summit, Ichikowitz outlined his vision on the roles and responsibilities of the new African citizen to an audience of thousands of students and entrepreneurs across the continent.

Ichikowitz said: “The time has come for us, as Citizens of Africa, to understand that the role of government is not to give us anything. The role of government is to provide an enabling environment to create opportunities.” He maintained that as much as Africans are entitled to have a contract with government in terms of what we expect, there is a requirement for every citizen of this continent to subscribe to a Bill of Responsibilities.

“A bill of responsibilities that defines how each and every one of us is responsible for our own circumstances. How each and every one of us has an obligation to wake up every day and engage with our communities as constructive contributors to the struggle to liberate our continent from poverty.”

According to Ichikowitz, this Bill of Responsibilities needs to focus our minds on the fact that our prosperity is in our own hands. “We have the power to create our own reality by choosing progressive leadership, by embracing the opportunities that the Continent provides to us, by conserving our heritage and by becoming world-class innovators, by learning to be leaders and not only followers.

“I want to use this platform to put out a challenge to every Citizen of Africa, a challenge that involves each and every one of us assessing our own circumstances and determining how we can you contribute to improving our own lives and those of the people around us.

“A challenge that focuses our minds on what each and every one of us can do towards preserving our environment and our heritage so that future generations too may prosper. A challenge which involves each and every one of us focusing our minds on what we can do right here and right now to reduce poverty and to enhance innovation.”

With 2015 just around the corner, Africa’s business and political community is preparing to report back to the world on whether it has reached the targeted Millennium Development Goals, while assessing progress on the continent and the road ahead. While many of African countries can rightfully claim real progress and victories, there are still millions of Africans living in poverty, a clear indication of the work that still needs to be done.

“I have never felt more proud to be an African than I do right now. Having been born on this continent and having lived and worked here all my life, I have seen a positive transformation in the last three decades that I don’t believe has ever been experienced in the entire preceding history of the continent,” concluded Ichikowitz.


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