The Millennium Excellence Foundation recently celebrated 17 Africans for their excellent service. The Lifetime Africa Achievement Prize (LAAP) laureates included politicians, entrepreneurs, academicians, sportsmen, media and civil society. The Foundation which is (owned and run by the Excellence Awards Foundation) nominates outstanding individuals who are positively impacting the lives of Africans in the socio-economic sphere.
The 17 include H.E. President Goodluck Jonathan, HRM Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, Carlos Lopes, Donald Kaberuka, Jay Naidoo,Tony O. Elumelu, Folorunsho Alakija, Tidjane Thiam, Cheick Modibo Diarra, Navanethem “Navi” Pillay, Amadou Mahtar Ba, Ashish J. Thakkar, Jim Ovia, Manilal Premchand Chandaria, Calestous Juma, Didier Drogba and Haile Gebrselassieit.
The fete is a step in the right direction for no one will celebrate Africa if Africa does not celebrate their own. While the list clearly demonstrates that Africa is not short of luminaries, the challenge facing the continent is to purge the prevailing ‘pull him down syndrome’; treat the crisis of confidence; create an enabling environment to allow the luminaries to translate their expertise into meaningful activities that will lead to improved living standards in Africa and give recognition to the economic informality sector which accounts for 80 percent of new jobs across the continent and generates 40 percent of GNP in low-income nations.