The participants to the third batch of Songhai Leadership Academy (SLA) Program received their certificate after six (6) months of training. The adventure would have been tough but full of lessons for the thirty-two participants. The official closing ceremony was held on May 12th in Songhai Center in Porto-Novo. It was in the presence of the Director of Songhai Center and the representative of the Director of the French Development Agency (AFD) in Benin.

The third batch of participants in Songhai Leadership Academy now know more about the quality of human resources that Africa needs to develop; It is a question of men capable of seeing all the potentialities of Africa and then transforming them into goods and services useful to the community. In this sense, the participants declared that, thanks to the training, they are ready to wage “war against passivity, mediocrity, indiscipline, misery, mental poverty and insecurity, Africa a continent that is still underestimated and humiliated.” For Fadima Tall Diallo, representing the participants in the training, the time has come for them “to act, to persevere and not just to hope“. As fighting weapons, they learned among others, faith, wisdom, self-confidence, discipline, determination, technical knowledge and more importantly: perseverance (never giving up or limiting oneself).

As the director of Songhai Center will tell them during the ceremony, poverty “is not the fact of not having money in one’s pocket, but rather the fact of not seeing the possibilities around in order to make money.  “All the interest of the SLA program is found in the ways and means to lead the black continent to development. Referring to the famous speech of US President Theodore Roosevelt – The Man in the Arena: Citizenship in a Republic (Sorbonne, April 23, 1910), Fr Godfrey Nzamujo will urge recipients to be “Men in the Arena” rather than consultants in sustainable development.

The representative of the French Development Agency (AFD) in Benin will consider the SLA training that the agency supports as “the key” that will serve the trainees “to be the actors of real development in Africa, from the teaching received in Songhai.”

The participants to the third SLA batch come from thirteen countries, including Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, DRC, Côte d’Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Togo and Uganda. The next batch is expected in a few days, in the month of June.


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