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Why must Africa beg in midst of plenty?

BY: Dr Paul Kofi Fynn
The writer
The writer

Africa can be described as the Promise Land of the modern world; that is because it is a land flowing with milk and honey, as God promised His people in Exodus 3:17.

According to the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), Africa holds about 40 per cent of the world’s Platinum Group Minerals (PGMs), phosphate, gold, cobalt, vanadium, vermiculite, chromite, manganese and diamonds.

In respect of oil resources, analyses by PwC South Africa, in its Africa Oil & Gas Review, 2018, indicate that Africa’s share of global oil production increased from 7.1 per cent in 2017 to 8.7 per cent in 2018.

It is true that Africa is a net importer of food but with 60 per cent of the world’s uncultivated arable land, Africa has a huge potential to feed the world.

With these enormous resources cited above, Africa is, no doubt, the Promise Land for the people of the world today!

Beggars of alms

In spite of the continent’s huge natural resource endowment, it is mind-boggling that Africa still remains an unashamed beggar of alms within the global economic community.

With cup in hand, African leaders go globetrotting, begging for anything and everything, including paltry sums of money in the name of aid and consumable and non-consumable goods that may, at best, be described as junk!

What is even worse is that Africa opens its doors to the Western World and others to enter its land under the disguise of foreign investment only to plunder the resources of Africa for their benefits, the very benefits we go back to beg from them.

Although conditions normally attached to the kinds of support offered to Africa may be totally absurd, they are gleefully accepted by our leaders because, as the adage goes: “A beggar has no choice”.

Let’s stop begging

Certainly, the challenges of Africa are not born out of the lack of resources; they are mainly due to the lack of proper management of the continent’s resources for the benefit of its people.

If only African leaders will endeavour to manage the continent’s resources very well, Africa can survive without the largesse of the Western World.

That will require a firm and robust approach to dealing with corruption, which is a major canker plaguing the continent. African leaders must put the interests of the people ahead of their personal interests.

‘Agenda 2063’, a continental vision initiated by the Heads of State and Governments of the African Union in 2015 for accelerated economic and industrial development of Africa is a very laudable initiative.

It is even more heart-warming to know that about 30 African countries have incorporated this vision into the national development plans.

This is the kind of visions and initiatives that African leaders must commit themselves to implementing in order to become economically independent and stop the culture of begging.

Democracy is failure

One of the banes of Africa is the adoption of the Western system of governance, given the fact that democracy has failed many African countries.

Apart from leading to civil conflicts, the ‘winner-takes-all’ notion of democracy has also created division, discrimination and selfishness, unlike the traditional system of governance which fosters unity and communal spirit among the people.

Also, Western democracy can easily be manipulated unlike the traditional system of governance which is time-tested and has well laid-out administrative structures and systems.

Socialism and communism could have been alternative to democracy but they have also failed and cannot be relied upon by Africa.

It is time for Africa to assert its independence by discarding the Western and Eastern systems of governance for the more robust traditional governance system that will ultimately enhance the accelerated economic development of Africa.

Africa is worth more than a beggar and copycat. We have enough resources and intellectual capacity to survive, without the prodding of the foreigner.

We must take charge of our own destiny and development. After all, the black man is capable of managing his own affairs!

The writer is the Chancellor of Wisconsin International University College, Ghana; President of the West Africa Nobles Forum, and former Chairman of the Christian Council of Ghana