Dr. Mo Ibrahim: Aged African Rulers Leading Us to Our Graves

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Mo Ibrahim. Flickr.

[From The Archives]

Please allow me to be frank, with respect to people around this room here. I'm going to speak in general terms. I wish to start really where Obasanjo ended. Let us start by looking at the age issue. You politely brought it up and said I'd like to see a critical mass. You see you've been president for a long time. This is why you're careful with your words.

This continent is a continent of young people. Half of the people here are below 30 years old. Look at the average age of African presidents; 63 to 64 years old.

We are the only continent in the world where you have presidents at 90 years old starting new terms. You guys are crazy or what?

We see people in wheelchairs, unable to raise hands, standing for elections. This is a joke. Yes, you are right to laugh because the whole world is laughing at us.

Look around you. The United States has an economy of $15 to $16 trillion. We, all of Africa are less than $1 trillion. This is a $16 trillion economy, right? The most important country in the world, like it or not.

Obama was happy to be half-African. He became president when he was 46, 47 years old; and he's not the youngest president. Clinton was younger than him. Clinton became president at 46 years old. Kennedy was 40 years old when he became president.

Why [do] these big countries, much bigger than us, entrust their economy, their nuclear weapons, their --all resources, to people who are in their 40s and we have people who are in their 90s to lead us. Lead us where to the grave?

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