Change of mindset key to Africa`s progress 2008-05-02 09:25:04 (Guardian) By Bilham Kimati Making the people of African believe that the continent is prosperous and there is no justification for its people to remain poor is the best instrument towards the achievement of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), IPP Executive Chairman Reginald Mengi has said. He made the remarks in Dar es Salaam yesterday during an audience with a 25-man delegation from the Armed Forces Command and Staff College, Jaji, in Nigeria when they toured the IPP media houses. Mengi said Africans had to make a breakthrough and shake off the negative attitude that poverty was here to stay. ``For many years Africa was classified as the poorest continent, irrespective of continued exploitation of its resources, and these resources could add to people?s efforts towards mental liberty, economic success and total eradication of poverty,`` Mengi said. Commenting on the concept of poverty alleviation in Africa, Mengi said the perception had no relevance whatsoever. ``The focus should be on wealth creation and not reducing poverty which, in itself, is not a problem but a challenge to deal with. We need to stand firm to prove in action that we are achievers and winners and not pessimists. Donor support should not replace people`s efforts, but rather supplement their efforts,`` he said. Citing examples of natural wealth such as oil and minerals that both Nigeria and Tanzania were endowed with, Mengi said time had come to do away with the repulsive dependence syndrome inculcated in people`s minds for many decades that Africa would remain poor. ``Why poverty in a rich country? Africa is a rich continent, and so should Africans who should never be regarded as second-class citizens,`` he said. He said Africa could achieve much more socially, politically and economically, with determination being the prerequisite. He recalled the time in history when Morocco ruled Spain. ``It is possible for Africa to rule the world economically. This is the kind of confidence that needs to be shared among our people and the future generations. We can do it. Let`s make use of the available opportunities,`` he said. Responding to a question as to how the local media had contributed to the war against corruption, Mengi said much had been achieved in terms of people?s awareness on what was going on in their own country. ``Today, people can openly discuss issues pertaining to war on corruption and good governance. The community has come to learn that there is no development if there is bad governance, corruption, lack of education or when they are denied the right to information,`` Mengi said. He said the media had continued doing its duty as a control mechanism while following the basic ethics of truth and balance. ``Investigative papers, for example, do not end with reporting corruption-related incidents but also demand recovery of looted people?s wealth. Greed has no room anymore,`` he said. With regard to war against the further spread of HIV/Aids, he said the media had played a major role in educating the community on preventive measures, despite some setbacks experienced by whistleblowers. For his part, Commodore Awonyemi praised Mengi for his exemplary investment and his determination to bring the people of East Africa and of the continent together. ``We have learned that a humble beginning can lead to tremendous achievement where there is determination. When we go back home, our mindset will never remain the same,`` said Commodore Awonyemi. The Nigerian delegation is in the country for a week-long visit to study how the government of Tanzania, through various ministries and private organisations, is working towards the achievement of Millennium Development Goals.