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COVID-19 pandemic, racist attacks, Africa! (3)

BY: Mawutor N.K. Alifo

Following the adoption of the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement(ACFTA), it would be advisable to expedite action on African trade agreements with other free trade areas or partners, to ensure the continent derives maximum benefit and collective strength from them.

There would also be the need for crafting a transformational template for granting mineral exploration and mining rights, with the stipulation that minerals must be processed in Africa before being exported.

The over dependence on processed goods from outside will keep us in perpetual state of impoverishment. Ghana’s One district, One Factory (1D1F), and moving beyond aid, deserves replication elsewhere on the continent.

Perhaps, by choosing to process our resources, our partners would begin to accord us the respect that we deserve because we would have created a stronger economy, as well as proven that we have come of age.

A resurgent and roaring African lion would go a long way toward helping to change attitudes towards Africa and Africans.

Luckily, a lot is going well on the continent because of the advantage of having a youthful population.

Governments taking action to provide accessible, quality education deserve the loudest applause. An educated and skilled populace will help sustain the current tempo of the continent which boasts of having not less than five countries among the fastest-growing economies in the world.

The lull in global markets (and a fast-approaching global economic recession) means the continent would have to brace itself with common antidotes to deal with the fallout from shrinking markets for African goods, services and tourism.

Remittances, data, impact

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a disproportionate impact on people of African descent in some western countries. How will this further impact on the purchasing power and remittances for African economies?

The full extent of the pandemic’s impact could be part of an evaluation of the incapacitating debt servicing obligations confronting African economies.

As Africa pushes its way forward on these and other issues, the continent must come out of this pandemic with new strategies for statistical data management of its human and natural resources. It was so remarkable to see the daily counts of patients and confirmed COVID-19 cases from the various countries.

The continent should build on that to create reliable data for national planning and decision making.

Implementation

The operationalisation of ACFTA and the implementation of Agenda 2063 are great markers of political will and commitment.

The post COVID-19 period should witness the successful implementation of the big regional and global plans not forgetting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

In a nutshell, it doesn’t have to be re-stated that Africans are not less endowed (in faculties) than other humans.

The study of the rise and loss of influence of civilisations can be our useful guide. During the past 70 years, Asian nations have steadily laid the blocks for strong economies.

That remarkable example should serve as a source of motivation for Africa. The Japanese focused on electronics and autos, Indians are into ICT,

Thailand, the world’s kitchens, Singapore is noted for cleanliness and trust, while China became the world’s factory.

Was there a time not so long ago, when some of these countries lagged behind some African and European countries in standards of living?

As for those who hate others on grounds of race or ethnicity, we can advise them to go and read John Howard Griffin’s Black Like Me for the redemption of their souls.

If the innumerable people who fought for equal rights, fought against racism, discrimination and xenophobia, etc., were to resurrect today, will they be shocked that in 2020, some have still not shed their ethnic, racist and sectarian bigot-tendencies?

I believe Dr Kwegyir Aggrey, Ottobah Cugoano, Olauda Equiano, Booker T. Washington, Frederick Douglass, Dred Scott, Dr Martin Luther King Jnr, among others, will be reciting a supplication for racial harmony and peace in our world.

To conclude, Africa and Africans should ask the ultimate questions: ‘What do we wish to be known for in the next 50 years? What ethos do we need to drive our progress?’. The answers are within us during, and after COVID-19.

“Hating people because of their colour is wrong. And it doesn't matter which colour does the hating. It's just plain wrong” — Muhammad Ali

The writer is in the Foreign Service
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