BARRIERS TO PROSPERITY IN AFRICA.
Despite Africa’s immense development potential toppled with untapped mineral wealth, Africa remains among the poorest continents mired in squalor , chaos and deprivation.
Being a hotbed of several positive things, there still exist barriers to its prosperity. I have sampled some of the most pressing barriers as put across by my favorite African Leaders.
Fred Swaniker-Founder of Africa Leadership Academy, speaking at TEDGlobal 2014 categorically states that :
“Africa will rise or fall because of the quality of our leaders.”
Several years after African States gained independence; there has been way too much warfare, human rights abuse and corruption at the hands of its leaders. I strongly believe that for any society to prosper, it should have an endogenous system of identifying, training and coaching its future leaders.
The main issue about African leadership is not the quality of individuals, but the quality of the group of individuals. The lack of domestic leadership education has resulted into leaders trained outside the continent and context in which their leadership skills would apply and further worsening heterogeneity of the systems in which they have trained making it near impossible to make them work together. There however has been some progress; though far from perfect, that current leaders have stabilized the continent and tried “cleaning up the mess” of the previous generations, laying groundwork for the next group of leaders who if properly guided, can craft and transform the continent.
George Ayittey- A distinguished American economist at American University states that African leaders have repressed, brutalized and plundered the wealth of the average African peasants using devices such as development levies, price controls and marketing boards. Introduction of such poor policies is what has condemned the African continent to eternal damnation.
The “leaky begging bowl” is trending in Africa. Poverty mentality seems to be the new “cool”. Africa has been a place of handouts, free things and a culture where people have things “done for” them instead of being empowered to do things for themselves. Additionally, a number of Africans lack international intelligence network leaving the continent unaware of events and shifts that could affect it. This accompanied with the “crab mentality” spirit where if one crab tries to crawl out of a bowl into which they have been put together, other crabs pull it back down and prevent its escape. This is the fate of any African who tries to crawl out of poverty .They are pulled back and there is no proper support system for such efforts.
As a young African leader, I think that the first step towards Developing Africa is by changing the African mentality. This would work most appropriately if it was done by the African Achievers themselves. But they don’t have time to come back to Africa. They want to work in American Silicon Valley, Johannesburg, London, England, Italy and Spain. Etc. and make fortunes hoping that their children and their children’s children will be able to go through the same. Lo and Behold! Vices like racism, xenophobia, retirement and deportation are REAL. And when that happens to you(The gods forbid), the HOME that you did not go back to is where thou shalt find yourselves. It is okay to make a living outside of your country or even within it but it should not feel like “kuvumilia”(Persevering a difficult time).We should not strive to belong.We should enjoy being home.It should feel good. It is possible. The time to make home what we want it to be is NOW. If not now then IMMEDIATELY.