By Amin Kef (Ranger)
In a remarkable achievement, Dr. Ezekiel K. Duramany-Lakkoh has been honored with the prestigious Pan African International Award of Excellence. This accolade recognizes his exceptional contributions to the realm of Financial Development and Education in the year 2023. The announcement was made during the 11th Pan African International Annual Conference, held on Sunday 27th August, 2023 at the Oriental Hotel, Lagos, Nigeria.
In his keynote address at the conference, Dr. Duramany-Lakkoh emphasized the historical significance of the Pan African Movement, tracing its roots back to the 19th century. He highlighted the movement’s dedication to establishing Africa’s independence across cultural, political, and socioeconomic dimensions.
The crux of the African Union’s vision, as articulated by Dr. Duramany-Lakkoh, revolves around inclusivity and sustainability. He stressed the need for comprehensive participation and benefits for all, while also underlining the importance of ensuring that present-day agendas align with the aspirations of the next generation.
Speaking further, Dr. Duramany-Lakkoh underscored the significance of the 50th-anniversary Solemn Declaration signed in 2013 by African Heads of States and governments of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), now the African Union (AU). This declaration reaffirmed Africa’s commitment to the Pan Africa Vision, which envisions a united, prosperous, and peaceful Africa, driven by its citizens and playing a dynamic role in international development. Dr. Duramany-Lakkoh emphasized the critical role of innovation and technology in achieving this vision.
Dr. Duramany-Lakkoh posed important questions about Africa’s economic trajectory in the context of increasing globalization and the information and communication technology (ICT) revolution. He challenged Africa’s reliance on international intellectual property for resource exploration, often leading to economic exploitation rather than genuine development.
Drawing attention to specific examples like Sierra Leone’s iron ore and Niger’s uranium, Dr. Duramany-Lakkoh acknowledged that external intellectual contributions had transformed these resources into valuable commodities. However, he stressed the need for Africa to introspect and innovate ways to explore and harness its resources independently, rather than solely attributing the success to external agents.
The core of Dr. Duramany-Lakkoh’s argument was that Africa must drive its economic agenda by engaging with global partners while simultaneously developing its own innovative and sustainable economic platforms. He criticized the prevalent pattern of focusing on Western interactions and seeking reduced roles, calling for a paradigm shift towards nurturing internal research laboratories to create African intellectual properties in science, business, and technology.
Dr. Duramany-Lakkoh concluded by highlighting three pivotal ways technology and innovation could elevate Africa’s economic landscape:
Digital Economic Innovations: Africa’s growth can be significantly influenced by adopting digital economic innovations, particularly those led by Africans. While acknowledging Africa’s role in pioneering mobile money, Dr. Duramany-Lakkoh emphasized the need to develop indigenous ICT infrastructure.
Investment in Research and Development: African countries should invest more in research and development, with international partners providing support for home-grown digital solutions. He called for investments that include knowledge transfer, extending to infrastructural development and defense.
Inclusive Innovation for Sustainable Development: Dr. Duramany-Lakkoh emphasized that inclusive and innovative African economies are crucial for achieving sustainable development goals and addressing climate change effects. He advocated for holistic solutions spanning education, healthcare, agriculture, and telecommunications.
The conference illuminated the urgent need for Africa to shift from being a consumer to becoming an active participant in the ongoing global digital revolution. Dr. Duramany-Lakkoh’s insightful remarks underscored the vital role that innovation and technology play in sustainable economic growth. His call for holistic, inclusive strategies highlighted the way forward for Africa’s development in the digital age.