Over the past week, Webster University (Ghana) has had a series of important political discussions. The week began with a heated student forum over the distasteful comments recently made by US President Donald Trump on Haiti, El Salvador and nations in Africa.
Some students expressed frustration if not disbelief that the US President could actually label the African continent in such a negative and disparaging light while others viewed his remarks as simply a “wake up call” for Africans to work towards a better, more positive image of Africa as a whole. The discussion was moderated by visiting faculty member, Professor Jean Germain Gros, who incidentally comes from Haiti and also shared his perspective. Through the discussion, Professor Gros shed light on various US immigration policies (including DACA) and helped students to process the wide range of feelings expressed on the now infamous comments made by President Trump.
Shortly following the student forum, Webster Ghana also hosted a Public Lecture on the following theme: 'The Politics and Economics of Neo-Colonialism in Post-Independent Africa' as part of the annual public lecture series. Speakers included Professor Jean-Germain Gros, Professor Kwame Boafo-Arthur, Professor of Political Science at University of Ghana, Legon and Dr. Agnes Khoo Dzisi, current Head of Department for International Relations, who moderated the program.
During the discussion, Prof. Gros argued that in order to end the exploitation of Africa's natural resources by its former (and potentially new) colonial rulers, African leaders must come together to build Africa-centric economies. He explained that an effective Africa-centric economy would require that Africa’s raw materials and mineral resources be processed into finished or semi-finished products in Africa rather than sold in raw, unfinished forms at low prices for the profit of corporations in the industrial north.
Professor Boafo-Arthur provided yet another perspective, emphasizing that the issue of neo-colonialism keeps regenerating itself because African leaders refuse to "think outside of the box," preferring economic dependency over economic stability, growth, and development. He entreated African leaders contribute meaningfully during policy-making discussions with world leaders and multi-lateral international organizations.
Members of the audience engaged in the discussion with the invited faculty and moderator. Participants included Webster Ghana students, academics, corporate institutions, security agencies, alumni, and the public at-large. Students from the University of Ghana were also present in addition to high school students from Tema International High School.