Thursday, 19 March 2009

Africa Forward: Part 1

The purpose of this blog, in its entirety, is not to put thinking and thoughts that would make Africa remain underdeveloped than it already is; but to:

  • Bring forth newly innovative and creative ways, ideas and thinking;
    New ways of understanding and make understood; and
  • Provide progressively fresh and transformed intellect in moving Africa and all who aspire to and live in it forward, and at the same time, changing it for the better.

As mentioned before and as can be noted in this article, the purpose is not to bring negative things which will take Africa backward or reinforce Africa’s underdevelopment mentality – where it comes from – instead this aims to provide light into programmes and initiatives that we Africans must take in trying to make the continent a world’s economically efficient and developed continent in the world from what it presently is or perceived to be, as at the time of writing, where some research has ranked it:

  • among, if not the most, poor and underdeveloped continent in the world,
  • prone to most contagious and deadly diseases,
  • among the continents that received and continue to financial assistance or rescue and that which “needed donor support” according to International Monetary Fund’s Impact of Global Financial Crisis Sub-Saharan Africa released early this year.
  • to be presently affected by the global financial crisis,
  • to have more corrupt government administrations,
  • to have lost many of its citizens to richer e.g. Asia and Europe, and
  • to lack the technical skills and capabilities to achieve its self programme objectives e.g. MDGs.

All this added together, and many other factors, according to International Monetary Fund, “compounds the policy challenges confronting the region [Sub-Saharan regions] as it strives to consolidate its economic gains and meet the Millennium Development Goals”.

Institute of Security Studies reported in the Situation Report. Africa 2008-2009: Retrospective look at the past year and forecast for the New Year that “global financial crisis [in Africa] is yet to reveal its full and likely devastating potential … in Africa".

The achievement of the Millennium Development Goal remain (sic) a distant prospect for the majority of African countries, the continent appears to be on a generally positive, thought at times divergent, growth trajectory”.

A group of musicians once sang that “the world won’t get no better if you just sit and wait”. And they same could be said about Africa and its people that Africa won’t get no better if we just sit and wait.

In his address to the African Institute in 24 August 2001 titled African Intellectuals and the African Crisis: In Honour of Professor Ben Makhosezwe Magubane, Herbert W. Vilakazi said “we African intellectuals are wrong in blaming individual African leaders of State for failing to move Africa forward, when we ourselves have not done our pre-requisite duty, namely, to formulate, debate, and publicise, a compelling, African-centred, development paradigm, which these leaders can use to move the continent forward.

Zimbabwe is one example whereby its president, Robert Mugabe has been blamed and lamented by many, more especially leaders of rich countries compared to those in Africa, for the economic and social mess his country’s enduring presently and the many human rights abuses were reported to have taken place, more especially, after last year’s bloody elections which saw hundred Zimbabweans being beaten to death, while millions fled the to nearby countries, e.g. Botswana and South Africa.

Many of the refugees, in South Africa, continued to be ill-treated, even blamed that one of them was set to light alive, while others continued to find refugees in churches and community centre across the country.

To date, many have not found proper shelter. All this was a result of what was termed “xenophobic attack” on foreign nationals for allegations of corruption (many of which could not be proved right or otherwise by the Court of Law, but through only speculations) and the occupation and buying of low houses, RDP’s, from those who opted to sell instead of staying in them, as the sole purpose of their onset construction.

Further deaths have been recorded in many parts of the continent as a result of what could be termed ‘fighting for leadership”. This fighting for leadership was a result of many of the undemocratic elections that took place in such countries. Even more, the fighting has been fuelled by the ethnical difference, land distributions and economic resources in many parts of such counties.

These, and many others, are challenges that the continent continues to face, and recorded human rights abuse in other parts of the continent.

African Agricultural Revolution, said Vilakazi, and accompanying rural development, should be the priority number one for all Africans and African governments. The other crucial policy imperative for African economic and social development, directly linked to the Agricultural Revolution, is that development planning in Africa should be from the countryside to the cities.

This, continued Vilakazi, is not to say urban areas should be neglected, but at least fifty percent of the investment funds should be earmarked for rural development. “The major source of crisis in African cities is the failure of development in the countryside”.

South African is one of the African countries which made strides in trying to development many of its countryside, villages or rural communities, with not much success, although many of its counterparts in the continent have dramatically failed to alleviate many of its communities from their daily poverty; hunger and starvation and human rights abuse.

This is the fundamental cause of the failure of development in Africa, therefore of the crisis in Africa, continued Vilakazi, and that the need for moving this economy [African economy in crisis] forward is not foreign investment”.

From the instances provided above, it can be derived that Africa won’t get no better if:

  • we always blame our leaders, instead of helping them move the continent forward
  • continue to receive donations from richer nations which continue to make Africa reliant on its riches and more underdevelopment and a parasite state
  • continues to be exploited and taken for a ride: not seeing the benefits of it natural minerals riches, but only seen by its exploiters and the richer,

The above, if continues, will eve escalate Africa’s dependency syndrome on richer nations which have exploited and still continue to exploit Africa for its natural mineral riches. This, as a result, will continue to take Africa down the drain if [I keep writing about what we can and can’t do, yet failing to do that myself] we continue to be donor receivers.

The following are just a few of the companies that have and still continue to make millions of profits from Africa’s mineral riches yet, failing to reinvest in those parts of Africa they have exploited. These include many mining industry players:

  • Anglo Platinum
  • De Beers
  • Anglo Gold

Many of them – mining industry operators – have made small Corporate Social Investment/contributions which are far less than profits made, while others continue to ignore and turn a blind eye on the threats and disadvantage their work and the environment in which they operate have on: human being living around such areas and the climate change.

How to move Africa forward
In his address, Vilakazi advised that the first cure for the sick African economy is the elimination of the underdevelopment of the masses of the African people in rural and semi-rural areas.

The current African economic crisis, said Vilakazi, arises out of our failure as Africans to start with first things first, the failure to start with rural development and concentrated steps to initiate the African Agricultural Revolution.

In the First Meeting of the Intellectuals of Africa and the Diaspora organised by the African Union , in October 2004, it was noted under the in “Africa’s place in the world” that: “… Africa has been neglected and will continue to be so because it is insignificant and, above all, it is killing itself with the aid it receives from its partners”. Furthermore, it was noted under the theme that “Africa’s future will depend on what Africans will or will not do” as mentioned here before.

By what Africans will … do, instead of what they will not do, Vilakazi advised that:

  • A series of educational visits to the African rural areas, by the entire cabinet and the government of the country and of each province must be the first step;
  • we must restructure the relationship between the African village, on one hand, and the modern African city, the modern school curriculum, modern social life, modern African State and modern Africa politics;
  • we must aim as designing and producing a synthesis of the precious gifts of the African villages, the gifts of the modern society, and of other civilizations;
  • develop new economics which is going to be a reflection of the economic experiences of the largest bulk of the population,
  • creating a bigger and wider internal market, and increasing the buying power of the masses of the African people,

According to IMF indicates Sub-Saharan Africa – Africa’s Southern countries – “has made major progress in strengthening its policies in recent years”. However, the continents remains vulnerable to exogenous shocks and that sustaining that progress will be a major concern in coming year.

This, it seemed, would call for a continued vital international support [monetary, it sounds, just as long as it doesn’t make African underdeveloped than it presently is].

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