BLUEPRINT FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF AFRICA
Despite the fact that Africa is the richest continent in terms of natural and mineral resources it is still the poorest continent in the world. This continent that helped develop the civilized world, (i.e. the west with emphasis to Europe) with its mineral and natural resources, yet its citizens still live on the begging side of life. The African continent in its vast majority still depends on foreign aid for its survival. Year in and year out African countries still go to the developed nations to ask for donations so that they can go by, yet such donations do not come for free to the African people because eventually somebody has to pay back the money owed to such countries.
In this case the future generations are the ones that are left with the hefty responsibility of paying back the money owed. But what is so disgusting about this is not in fact the issue of repaying the debt to the lending nations, the issue is if at least the money borrowed was properly used to develop such countries, we could actually say that the money was well used. But that is still far from the truth because many African countries still do not have anything to show for the money that has been borrowed to them. Most countries in Africa still leg behind in infrastructural development, education and health.
The people in Africa still languish in poverty, and die through diseases that can easily be prevented and still show levels of illiteracy that are unacceptable in the 21st century, yet this is the reality at hand. The question therefore, is what actually happens to the money that is borrowed to African countries every year. Where does that money go to? Who is making use of the money if it is not benefiting the population on the ground which is the one suffering?
THE SAD REALITY
The truth is that despite the billions of US Dollars donated in the form of loans to the African continent have not benefited its people. Yet the money is borrowed in the name of the people. If you go to most African countries today what one sees is repugnant to the eye. From bad road infrastructure to high levels of poverty and begging in the African population. This is a sad reality for the African people because I think that they do not deserve such injustice from those who they have trusted to rule and to govern over the affairs of their nations.
CORRUPTION AT ITS BEST
One must acknowledge that the great culprit of this disgrace is the African government that rules in most of these countries. Such leaders which I believe are not worthy to be called leaders at all, due to the high levels of financial banditry that they have committed by usurping the funds that were supposed to develop these countries and the people. I believe that whenever a child dies of preventable diseases and poverty in Africa, somebody must be held responsible for that. And in this case the so called African leaders are to blame because the money that was supposed to be used in getting the right medication and alleviating and combating poverty has gone into their pockets.
Despite the fact that most of the so called leaders have failed to develop their countries, you still see them driving imported luxury vehicles on the very roads that they failed to repair, they are shameless people that are not worthy to be called leaders of the African people. The least that one can say about them is that they are bastard children and a disgrace to the African continent. Such people should be put in prison where they belong; they are criminals and should be treated as such, crime should never be tolerated neither go unpunished.
The level of corruption in many African countries has reached epidemic proportions in that it is not just in isolated cases, but it is systemic. There are systems in place that are favorable for high profile people to commit corruption. And due to such systems that are in place, corruption does not only linger in the top but has come down to the low echelons of society. There are cases that in some countries you experience corruption from the moment you arrive at the airport, to the car you rent, to the traffic officers that stop you on the road for no apparent reason except for the fact that they are thieves disguised in police uniforms. This even goes further to the health institutions, whereby if you do not pay an x amount of money, your child may be left to die.
You can begin to see that only individuals with severed consciences can let this happen to their own people.
THE COMPLICITY OF THE WEST
Despite the overwhelming evidence that there is so much corruption from the part of government leaders, the western nations still do business with these criminals. By still giving them money that they know it is not going to serve the purpose for which it was borrowed, that is simply be a partner in crime. As if that was not enough they still open their banks and allow these so called leaders to deposit large amounts in their personal names of money without questioning them. One begins to question how serious are the western countries in seeing the development of African nations that they so vehemently preach.
The levels of hypocrisy from the Western nations are unprecedented in that they do not practice what they preach. They are the number one enablers of such deviant behavior; one begins to wonder whether they are the ones encouraging such leaders to do so. I know that this thought is a bit far fetched but my imagination runs wild when I begin to think of such issues. In the few years that I have been in this planet I have seen that humans are capable of doing virtually anything. Whatever they can possibly conceive nothing can stop them from achieving it, that is a reality. If you don’t believe me just look around, even the blind can see.
While the issue of corruption has riched monumental levels in Africa, one has to acknowledge that this is not just an African problem. It is as a result of the deformity of the internal structures of humans. Humans no matter from which part of the world, which race they belong to or even the level of education that they may have acquired, they are always prone to commit the most outrageous levels of atrocities. It is something that is inherent in every human being that lives on this planet, with the Pope included.
THE ISSUE OF GOVERNANCE
After all has been said one has to acknowledge the fact that the issue of governance is paramount to the development of nations. The level of development that we have seen in so many parts of the world today is due to the quality of governance exercised in those nations. Unlike such levels of development that we have witnessed in the west, the same cannot be said of many African countries, with the exception of a few of course. That raises the issue of whether Africa is capable of leading itself without external interference or not.
The reason why so many countries are still poor despite the abundance of mineral and natural resources is bad governance. Thus, the matter of governance needs to be relooked at in Africa. Despite the fact that so many countries have embraced democracy, its real values are still yet to be seen. This brings me to pose the question of whether democracy is right for Africa or not. Well, this is a debate that I would like to bring another time.
On this matter there should be mechanisms put in place to bring the African leaders into accountability. By that I do not mean in any way that we should involve the west in solving such problems, but that should be an initiative of the African civil society in becoming the watch dog. This could be a platform to bring all the deviant leaders into account on how public funds are utilized and how such leaders contribute to the development of their nations.
One may want to argue that Africa has the AU to help solve African problems, however, I would disagree with that assertion. We all know that the AU has proven several times to be incapable to intervene and to solve the problems of the African people. Not to mention of their inability to bring certain deviant African leaders into account. Such is the case with leaders like Robert Mugabe from Zimbabwe and many others. When it comes to deal with the conflicts that are a constant threat to the continent the AU has just been nonexistent. In my opinion the AU is a toothless dog incapable of even barking.
· A new model of governance
Despite the fact that most countries in the world have embraced democracy, and the visible effects of this political approach in the developed nations, I do think that Africa needs to find a different way of governance for its people. Even though many African countries have embraced democracy, its fruits are yet to be seen. One may dispute by arguing that the African democracy is still in its infant stage, thus more time should be given for us to eventually see its fruits, and after all it took America many years to master this very political principle.
My argument in as far as Africa is concerned is why can’t Africans come with a form of governance that will be appropriate to the African reality. That does not necessarily mean that we should reject all the democratic principles, no! That is not what I am advocating. But I am sure that we can borrow some democratic concepts and principles that are workable and bring something peculiar about the way Africans are accustomed to be governed, in order to craft a style of governance that is unique to the African people. The goal however, is not uniqueness, but the quest for something workable within the framework of the peculiarity of the African people.
One needs to accept the fact that the democratic model has not been working in Africa, and if it is not working why continue to apply such model. It is time that we begin to ask serious questions about the viability of this model in the African continent. Only a handful of countries in Africa can actually claim to successfully adhere to democratic principles and values. Even in such cases, the democratic principles are not practiced and applied in its entirety.
The concept of democracy should be applied and practiced having in consideration the cultural and societal values of each individual location.
I believe that the problems of the African continent should be solved by the sons and daughters of the land. Africa has got enough human capital to bring solutions to its own problems, thus making it clear that the destiny of Africa is in the hands of Africans and not in the hands of the international community, however well intentioned they may be. It is time that Africans begin to take the responsibility for their own destiny without looking outside for help.
By this I am suggesting that the answer for the African problem lies within the continent, therefore, we should start looking at what we have , what we can do and how we can tackle the enormous challenges that we are faced with in the continent. Having said that however, I do not mean that we do not need outside input, the issue here is we should not solely depend on them for the fulfillment of our destiny. For Africa to break the cycle of dependence from the west she has to come up with her own viable solutions to her own peculiar problems.
Even though the problems faced in Africa are not exclusively unique to the African continent, I do believe that we can solve them in our own way because each part of the world is different and a carbon copy of the answers from any other part may not necessarily work well. However, we should encourage partnership with other parts of the world to learn a few lessons from them on how they have managed to tackle their own challenges. The matter of partnership should shift from that of begging for money and donations from the west to one of gathering mental and human resources and capital to solve the issues in Africa.
Instead of Africa going to the West to ask for money why not go there and get expert training in the areas that we need for the development of Africa. I strongly believe that if Africa could invest in partnership with the more developed nations in the world, by sending its own people to go and be equipped in strategic areas that we deem essential for the development of the continent, the problems could be solved. I am not suggesting however that the challenges of the African continent will cease to exist by following that approach. But surely it could help in mitigating the effects of poverty and lack of development.
A new approach
It is a well known fact that the African continent has got more than enough resources, human, natural and mineral to tackle the challenges that infest the continent. What should be done is that African countries should begin to partner together towards the accomplishment of a common goal. By bringing all the resources that the continent has human, natural and mineral resources and beginning to partner in a strategic manner, Africa could solve its own challenges. I do not believe that the issue here is the lack of capability to deal with its own problems, which I am sure is not the case. Perhaps there are so many selfish agendas on the part of those that are supposed to bring the desired solutions to the continent.
African countries should begin to partner we each other for the common development of Africa instead of looking solely on their internal issues, which could be solved with a more targeted and strategic approach from the part of all the stakeholders. We all have a stake in the continent and have something to contribute for the improvement of this great continent. African leaders should begin to come together and find ways in which the issues at hand can be tackled.
I am advocating for a more collective approach towards solving and dealing with the predicament in which the continent is in. The challenges that the continent is faced with are mostly the same, thus there is at list common ground and place to start from. By bringing together the nations that are so resourceful in terms of natural and mineral riches, they should find ways to partner in order to deal with issues such as poverty and lack of development. In the same way they should have a target approach towards dealing with corruption and financial banditry. The same approach should be used to deal with issues of peace and security in the continent.
It is by taking a more concerted approach that I believe that the African people will eventually begin to make strides towards the development of the continent.