The Path to Developing Africa
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“Africa my Africa”, Africa the second largest and second most populous continent in the world. A continent that is bountifully blessed with resources, rich and diverse cultures, creative minds, as well as resilient and hardworking people. This makes it startling to note that irrespective of these great qualities, Africa is still insufficiently developed and is also one of the poorest continents in the world. Hence, there is a need for we the people of Africa to uncover ways to accelerate sustainable development within our continent.
In order to discover the path to development, it is necessary we first identify the obstacles that have long prevented this. To begin with, the period of colonialism led to the creation of a system of unequal relationship and exploitation of Africa by the West. A relationship in which the economies of African countries are constantly serving the interests of the West. It also led to the dominance of Western ideas, cultures and structures on the African people. Unfortunately, there are many Africans who knowingly and unknowingly, have served as tools to the sustenance of this system. This has put the continent at a disadvantaged position in the international system.
In addition, Africa has continually struggled with weak governance, unfavourable leadership, poor infrastructures, corruption, disadvantaged consumer economies, wars, diseases and more. These has also been hindrances to well-deserved sustainable development within the continent.
Rather than focus on the problems that plague Africa, this article seeks to find a suitable path for developing the continent. At this juncture, it is essential to clearly express that the key to developing Africa lies within the hands of Africans. Firstly, we can start by understanding the system of exploitation that so easily enslaves us and labour towards substituting it with one that favours us. We need to replace our overdependence on the West with a determined drive towards self-reliance.
The continent should focus on a policy of trade rather than aid. Africa should reconsider and reform her trade policy. A good place to start reformation is to stop receiving handouts from Western countries. The loans and foreign aid that we have continually received from the West, has not contributed to our development. Rather, poverty still wages war against us. These loans come with conditions that make it almost impossible for the debts to be paid. Foreign aid has created unnecessary aid formalities and has further strengthened the already existing system of dependency. Instead of African countries to look for solutions within themselves, they are swift to receive the distorted generosity of the West.
Furthermore, African countries need to make a transition from being consumer nations to becoming producer nations. As opposed to importing almost everything from the developed world, Africa should gradually move towards the point of manufacturing to meet her local needs. African governments should increase tariff on goods that can be locally produced so as to discourage Africans from importing them as well as create a conducive environment for increased production. Also, the African Union should work towards greater economic integration in order to strengthen trade relations within Africa.
There is a great necessity for the continent of Africa to pay closer attention to the development of science and technology within her borders. This will aid manufacturing. It’s time we stop depending on the West for technological know-how. Rather, we should invent technology that is influenced by our environment and culture. It should also be customized to meet our local needs. In addition, innovation and creativity should be encouraged and supported by the governments of countries within Africa. Also, the right economic atmosphere should be created in order to enable the growth of private businesses and entrepreneurial activities.
Effective leadership and good governance is greatly needed in order to ensure sustainable development within Africa. These will lead to the establishment of strong systems, institutions and infrastructures that will stand the test of time. Without good governance, it will be impossible to attempt the repositioning of Africa in the international system. Good governance is the vehicle that will transport Africa as she journeys on the path to sustained development.
Finally, every African has a role to play in the development of Africa. We should embrace our culture and wear it like a second skin because it is represents our unique identity. Our political, economic and social life should not be a shadow of western ideologies. Rather, it should be a conveyor of our culture.
The path to sustained development is a journey in unity that every African country has to embark on. It is time for Africa to arise in order to clear the path for sustainable development and re-positioning in the global system. Let us redefine the continent of Africa and rewrite her story.