Member of Parliament for Shoshong, Philip Makgalemele, gave a keynote address at the launch of the Network of African Students in Japan (NASJA), held at Kanagawa in Japan.
Makgalemele addressed the student body in his capacity as Chairperson of the Pan African Parliament (PAP) Committee on Trade, Customs and Immigration and Chairperson of the portfolio Committee on Youth, Sports, Arts and Culture in the Botswana Parliament.
Presenting a paper, under the theme “Uniting Students to Bridge the Gap and Enhance Mutual Understanding Between Africa and Japan”, Makgalemele told his audience that during the October,2012 Pan African Parliament Ordinary Session sitting it was resolved to set up a Parliamentary Youth Caucus whose membership are all MPs who have youth development as their core agenda. He also informed his audience that there are only four MPs representing Botswana in the Pan African Parliament (PAP) instead of the normal five and that this was because Botswana does not have a woman MP who is not in the executive/cabinet.
Makgalemele also put more focus on the importance of the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD). He said the TICAD process is a Summit-level international policy forum dedicated to African development and congratulated NASJA for “keeping your eyes on the ball by ensuring that you are counted as TICAD V is rolled out”.
He also lectured the African students in Japan on the objectives of PAP, which include: to facilitate the effective implementation of the policies and objectives of the AU and the African Economic Commission (AEC).
Makgalemele further indicated that Africa is the current and future sustainable economic frontier. He said Africa has always been having the attributes of being an economic frontier but just lacked the drive to claim her rightful position.
He decried the unfortunate development in that the Pan African Parliament as a continental Parliament is not legislative but remains a consultative and advisory organ of the African Union. He, however, said there have been some positive limited responses to allow for economic growth to reap the benefits of Africa’s growth (both from governments, the private sector and civil society).
Makgalemele called for peace in Africa and the world at large. He said Youths need peace for them to thrive, therefore the youths, who are part of the voting community at the grass roots level, must promote the concept of “peace for sustainable economic growth and poverty eradication”. He said at a more general level, one must be BOLD, as it is said, “if BOLD, you may fail, if not BOLD, you shall fail”.