Africa is a great continent with potentials that cannot be rivaled amongst other continents and the potentials are manifested in various dimensions. The presence of luxuriant vegetation conducive for agriculture and industrial purposes, the abundant presence of natural resources, the absence of natural disasters, and the huge deposit of human capital are some of the numerous potentials of Africa as a continent. These potentials are veritable for articulating the aspiration and ideals for shaping the future of the continent but it has always been a mirage over time. Africa has not lived up to its optimum potential and the vast potentials that are lurking in Africa have not been maximized fully. Africa as a continent has been the focal point for global action on poverty, unemployment, poor education, insecurity, poor healthcare delivery system, economic backwardness, and poor development. These factors are a huge pointer to the fact that development in Africa has not progressed at a pace worthy of commendation. It is therefore imperative to highlight the aspiration and ideals that can shape the future of the continent.
Humans since the inception of time have been faced with the need to survive and their survival instinct has driven them to produce tools that will make exploitation of nature possible and easy. This is a form of development since progress has been made from primitive to modern in a bid to meet the needs of humans. In the same vein, Africa has also developed over time, but the development has not been at par with global development standards. This is manifested in various indices such as per capita income, human poverty index, and other economic indices which have always been on the negative.
To have the Africa we want, emphasis must be laid on major factors that might shape context and relevance in terms of Africa`s development. One such factor is placing value on education. According to UNESCO and UIS (2018), over one-fifth of children between ages 6–11 are out of school in Sub-Saharan Africa and almost 60% of youths between ages 15–17 are not in school. This statistic revealed that education has taken a backseat in Africa and this has affected development in the continent. Education has the capacity to ensure that Africa’s development is at pace with global standards. With the improvement in education, there will be increased capacity to maximize potentials of people in Africa, there will be greater capacity to exploit the environment by understanding the laws of nature and improved capacity to put the knowledge into good use by encouraging technology.
To shape the future of the continent, it is important to be intentional about it. Africa should have been a continent with wide acclaim for development but there are little efforts geared towards ensuring that development is at its optimum in Africa. To ensure this, corruption must be checked and curtailed for there to be development. This can be achieved by infusing technology into the system. When there is a central database for the inhabitants of the region and this database is linked with all sectors of the economy, corruption, as a bane to the development of Africa will be curbed. Furthermore, there should be an overhaul of government policy on certain issues that plague Africa. Key among these issues is dependence on the importation of goods, education, and health tourism abroad. These factors have led to neglect in key sectors that can contribute to development in Africa. There is gross neglect for agriculture which is a potent factor for development, educational institutions, and health care facilities have been neglected while people from the elite political class go abroad to the detriment of Africa as a continent. Agriculture if tapped into with decisiveness can be a driver for development in Africa and youths should be keyed into it. There should be policies that will discourage people from seeking educational and health tourism abroad and this can only be made possible by developing our institutions. This will enable them to focus on replicating what obtains elsewhere in the continent.
This essay has shed light on how the Africa we want can be realized taking into consideration some factors that can be implemented on a large scale using resources in Africa to ensure Africa’s development. It is imperative that all bodies concerned in this policy discourse, implement some of the recommendations given so as to have the Africa we want.