by Violet Dukwende

A lot has been said about the problems that Africa faces but never before has there been much research on why she finds herself in this predicament. For Africans have been touted as stupid, backward and people with partially developed minds who therefore need help in making sound decisions for their own good and for the development of the continent.

An Africa, for Africans, by Africans seems very far-fetched but it is the only solution we have after the failure of Western prescriptions to our problems. Structural adjustment programs, credit facilities and loans have been the order of the day for as long as one can remember. Sadly, they have not yielded much to improve the lot of Africans except impoverish them further. The failure of Rostow’s Modernization theory and Gunder Frank’s Dependency theory and therefore Underdevelopment theory further attest to that.

Unemployment, political and economic instability, war, conflict, escalated crime rates, high infant mortality rates, low life expectancy rates and unfavorable salaries and retrenchment packages are the order of the day in most African states.

 

DEMOCRACY: A WESTERN MYTH?

While it is irrefutable that we have not always gotten along as Africans, we have always had our own disputes and systems of settling them. Democracy has always existed but it is a democracy that is relevant to our situation, our African terrain and its uniqueness. Our problems seem to escalate upon interventions from our brothers from the West, be it as mediators in conflicts amongst ethnic groups (think North and South Sudan) or as the helping hand in famines and peace-keeping in countries such as the DRC, Somalia and Sudan.

And while one can never underestimate the humanitarian ‘’aid” that we receive for epidemics such as Ebola and Cholera, food handouts in times of famines as well as food and medical supplies during droughts and floods, one cannot help but lament the aid that has been received where development of the continent is concerned.

Development programs leave us in a far –off condition than before as they are not well-meant, often don’t come to completion as funds are either cut without prior notice, or are reduced drastically, leaving projects incomplete and intended beneficiaries feeling cheated and in a worse condition than before.

 

NOT ALL AID IS BENEFICIAL

There needs to be an end to the mind games that the West and other Newly- industrialized countries play with vulnerable Africans. Think of China as playing savior to Africa, seemingly emancipating Africa from the clutches or iron grip of the West while immediately imposing itself as an enslaver. Think China –Zambia hydro-electric power deal and the fate of Zambia after failure to pay for the deal.Think of China funding conflict in Sudan through the establishment of a firearm plant that is used to produce weapons that kinsmen are killing each other with. AND China as controlling oil fields in our native land where we have no control whatsoever on the precious commodity whose sales should contribute significantly towards the development of Africa.

There should equally be an end to the self-entitlement of Africans where aid is concerned. Forget blaming colonialism for all our woes. For we still have to contend with bad governance, corruption, dictatorial tendencies and ethnic and tribal wars.

While the writer is cognizant of the fact that African solutions to the African-ness of our problems are the panacea to its development ills, she remains open towards foreign aid that is open towards letting Africans be at the forefront of projects that are meant to emancipate them economically and let it rise to its former glory of ancient times. The Ashante, Rozvi and Mutapa states are evidence enough of the tenacity and economic intelligence of the African people. Never again must we underestimate our prowess. Think agriculture, traditional medicine construction, trade, textile engineering and manufacturing, ranching and mining.

Africans has always been involved in all these sectors and are well and truly able to resume and surpass their former glory. It takes political will on their part, determination to be self –reliant and well-meaning efforts from all who desire to rid the continent of all the ills that have befallen it.

 

AFRICANS: THINK AFRICA AND LOOK NO FURTHER THAN YOURSELVES FOR LASTING SOLUTIONS TO YOUR PROBLEMS.