Africa is a unique continent. It is unique in the sense that it sits on rich mineral deposits, and yet it is the least developed continent compared to other continents in the world.
It’s fascinating to hear that some people living in European countries believe that Africa is still a jungle in this 21st Century. Such thoughts are confirmed by how desperately African immigrants cross the sea on crowded boats risking their lives to get to Europe.
It’s a pity that such a wonderful continent cannot take care of its people despite its great potential.
Although we cannot fully blame the residents of the beautiful continent, there are external forces that are also to blame for its woes. Scramble for Africa started two centuries ago with the main target being African resources.
The big brothers in Europe, the United States, and Asia have played a significant role in limiting development in the continent. They came in purporting to be friends but, that was not the case.
All they were interested in its resources and free manpower. That was not enough, they took Africans as slaves to go and work for them abroad for free. The colonial masters did not anticipate the magnitude of the crisis they were creating.
After the colonial masters left the continent, the problem grew from bad to worse because those who left to lead the way behaved exactly like their predecessors. Up to now, many countries in Africa are still struggling to feed the residents which is pathetic.
As much as we could attribute these problems to the leadership within the continent, we need to stand firm, speak about it and do something to change this narrative.
Here are some of the solutions to the underlying issues that hinder development in the continent:
Corruption is a contagious vice; once given a chance to thrive, it spreads just like wildfire. According to Transparency International, Africa is the most corrupt continent in the world. This has been a real monster in the continent and most of the African leaders are deeply soaked in this vice.
The government in power is supposed to serve the people with transparency and accountability but, that’s not the case with those in power here in Africa. Instead, the leaders put their self-interests first and that of their close friends around the power and forget its people.
If the resources are used responsibly, and for intended purposes, development in Africa can be very significant. There is a need to create awareness among the people about the consequences of electing corrupt individuals to positions of power because that is the beginning of their problems. What we need are transparent leaders who are willing to propel this great continent to greater heights.
Analysts show that African countries lose more than $1.25 trillion every year due to tax evasion, theft, and runaway corruption. That amount of money is enough to lift more than 1.4 billion Africans above poverty line for the next five years.
Provide Adequate Security
Security is a sensitive feature and essential to any part of the world. Some regions in Africa experience serious cases of insecurity because of several issues.
Political intolerance, scarce resources, radicalization, and boundary disputes are some of the issues that cause conflicts among the affected communities. These quarrels and fights have affected development in the respective regions such that people do run away from these places to seek refuge in more peaceful places.
The leaders of respective governments should invest much in finding better mechanisms of identifying and resolving emerging issues. For any growth and progress to take place, peace and tranquility are essential.
It’s the responsibility of the government of the day to provide security to the people and ensure that there is a peaceful atmosphere for businessmen and women. Business is the backbone of the economy and can only thrive in a safe and secure environment.
Empower Women and Youth
In Africa, women and the youth are the majority, but they have been alienated in terms of leadership positions and resource allocation. It is very unfair to isolate the majority in society because it also affects the productivity of the same people. Every person needs to be given equal opportunities to make equal contributions.
The people who sit at the decision-making table need to come up with a deliberate plan of getting the youth and women onboard. Educating the youth is one of the best ways of stimulating the economy. The knowledge that they acquire helps them to become independent and choose careers wisely. Women need to be furnished with apprentice skills as well to give them courage and an equal chance to become entrepreneurs.
As the saying goes, a hungry man is an angry man. Hunger is real here in Africa especially, in arid and semi-arid parts of the continent.
The central part of Africa encounters adequate rainfall and has very fertile soils that are good for agriculture. There is a great potential for food production in the region but the problem is that the governments of the countries around the region do not give enough support to the farmers so that they can improve their productivity.
There’s a need to introduce irrigation schemes and other modern farming mechanisms that can boost agriculture in all parts of the continent. People living in arid and semi-arid areas are pastoralists.
They should start harvesting water during torrential rains so that they can have enough to quench their animals. They should also be taught about the benefits of practicing alternative farming to ensure that there’s enough food for everyone in Africa. Food security is vital because when people go hungry, the productivity rate reduces, and people are more likely to fight over little the food in the silos.
The fact remains that Africa is a sleeping giant that needs to be awake. With all the wealth and resources that the continent poses, the residents should not be begging for aid from other continents.
Africans should be proud of their rich heritage and free themselves from mental slavery and manipulation especially, during the 21st Century where information is readily available and communication made easier thanks to digital platforms. We Africans should rise to the occasion and reclaim the lost glory.