After 18years of living and working in Europe, the decision to return to settle in my home country was not an easy one. The general feeling of insecurity, the risk of failing to fit in (acclimatise) as well as finding a suitable job may be familiar to all those who have taken such bold decision. Though, the daily hassle and bustle (challenges) continue as I struggle to settle-down, the good news is, I have not regretted returning to the mother land Ghana.
Living and working outside the continent has its own peculiar way of impacting any individual (i.e. positively, negatively or both) which make returning home either a joyful or a painful experience. Only a few are indifferent, taking such decision.
A few years ago, irrespective of where you live on the globe, news about Africa often falls into the negative categories of war, famine and disease. Growing up in a small town in eastern Ghana, all our dreams were to escape from the misery that has plaque the continent – Africa. I was therefore delighted when I had the chance to study in Germany. Even as I said goodbye to my family at the airport, I still knew that, I will have to return home one day to help build my country; however, little did I know how difficult that decision was going to be, when the day finally arrived.
Though the continent is still striving to meet certain basic needs and have a long way to go (scattered conflicts and wars here and there), nevertheless, there are a lot more positive developments (across most parts of the continent) that present new hope to all African (both at home and abroad) as well as to the global economy.
Africa is currently the fastest growing continent (see IMF 2016 World Economic Outlook), and this provides a fresh impetus for reviving the hopes and aspiration of its people. The rich resources of the continent have always supported the global economy; hence, it comes as no surprise when all attention is once again directed at the continent in a frantic effort to revive the global economic performance.
Democratic governance and rule of law are becoming the order of the day across the continent. African head of states and governments are now prepared to use military means (if necessary) to defend this noble venture as demonstrated by recent ECOWAS intervention action in the Gambia. Ghana, my beloved country has demonstrated to the world, that Africa is capable of peaceful-democratic transition of governance – election after election.
Trade and commerce between African countries is growing steadily as well as free movement of its citizens as demonstrated by an ongoing policy (either No visa or visa on arrival policies for Africans) of many African countries. The success of current Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA) could serve as a launching pad for the establishment of a continent-wide Free Trade agreement to cover all Africa.
Infrastructure development and expansion is on the rise across the continent. Most rural areas across the continent are having access to electricity, potable water, health and education facilities, internet and mobile phone communication.
Ebola, Aids and other tropical diseases (e.g. malaria) has mostly been brought under control; as more measures are being implemented (nationally and internationally) in an attempt to totally subdue the spread of such diseases across the continent.
So once again, I quote our hero, the pride of Africa – the late Nelson Mandela of South Africa who once said: ‘We stand at the dawn of an African century, a century where Africa will take its rightful place among the nations of the world’ – Africa – A continent on the Rise!
As usual your comments, criticisms, questions and point(s) of correction etc. are welcome. Please kindly comment with positive suggestion how to develop our continent further, pushing the frontier beyond the current status-quo. Thanks.
Author: Dr. Amos Mensah
Lecturer – Kwame Nkrumah University of Science & Technology (KNUST), Kumasi – Ghana. Agricultural Economist