Columnist: Asamoah-Siaw, Kofi
The PPP has learnt the disturbing news of xenophobic attacks on foreigners living in South Africa including Ghanaians and Nigerians. The irate youth in the town of Kroonstad and now Johannesburg complain of joblessness and accuse the foreigners of taking over their economic activities.
We join many to condemn this despicable conduct on the part of the South African youth. Whilst we condemn these acts in no uncertain terms, we believe strongly that the solution to prevent future attacks of such magnitude and unruly behavior among the youth living anywhere does not lie in African leaders issuing statements of concern when these things happen. The solution lies in reversing with a sense of urgency the economic and social exclusion that fuels the anger of millions of desperate youth who have no hope of better living conditions.
These unjustifiable attacks in South Africa have been preceded by the Arab Spring, the Bokko Harram insurgency and Al-Shabab killings. Many desperate African youth join these groups because of poverty, ignorance and lack of effective social support systems. Others risk their lives to cross the Mediterranean to seek salvation in Europe and thousands have died during these precarious journeys.
We urge all African governments and leaders to pay serious attention to youth unemployment, illiteracy and poverty. We must take immediate and practical measures to deal with state sponsored corruption and invest in the youth of Africa by providing education, better health care systems and job opportunities.
It is only when we create a fairer society with opportunity for everyone that we can halt the growth in radical ideology, xenophobic attacks and political, economic and social upheavals. We must be wide Awake to our collective responsibilities.