The ever rising human misery, economic hardship and abject poverty ravaging the continent Africa could be attributed to many factors, but prominent among them is the toxic cocktail mix of the wide spread incompetence nature of the ruling elites (i.e. both previous and current Government/leaders/politicians) across the continent and the barbaric, primitive and genocidal IMF&WB policies (e.g. SAP and Austerity) design to keep the continent in perpetual vicious cycle of debt-economic crisis just to serve the interest of these parasitic neo-colonial institutions. The persistent failure of the continent’s leaders (past and present) to harness the full potential of its vast human and other resources by providing the right governing environment for both professional and personal growth to enable the continent achieve its full potential on the global scale has caused a deep seated image damage all Africans (rich or poor).
Irrespective of the background or financial status as an African, a prominent feature one often comes across as one travels across the globe is the constant encounter of massive discrimination, harassment, racial slur and all sorts of undignified treatments. Perhaps it is a bit of over generalization and wild exaggeration to state – “Africans are the least respected, but most subjected to all types of stereotype mistreated all over the globe even on the continent Africa itself”. The mistreatment of Africans is particularly obvious when one travels across the globe (especially at airports, shops, bars, hotels etc.). This phenomenon of racial subjugation is common not only in western societies, but also prevalent on the continent Africa itself. In so many instances, we have witnessed foreign owned entities (e.g. restaurants, hotels, etc.) operating on the continent, but forbid (bans) Africans from patronising or entering their premises. On a different scale and intensity though, it is common in many western countries, where Africans have to watch where they step/go to avoid being lynched/attacked by right wing entities or neo-Nazis.
The objective of this article is not to assume a victim position and push Africa’s unfortunate predicament on others but to take a critical look at the contribution of the colossal failures of African leaders (past and present) as well as IMF barbaric policies to the problems of Africa. Highlighting the human cost of the astronomical incompetence, abuse of power, corruption and mismanagement by African leaders and their gross failure to forge a common front and effective economic development strategy(s) to help tackle the continent predicament is the subject of this article.
Yes, there are outside forces (perceive or real) against the continent total liberation and empowerment, but this argument is not peculiar to Africa only, since leaders of all nations are fighting for the same scarce earth’s resources to enhance the welfare of their citizens, and it is obvious that countries with those leaders who are keen and determined to enhance the welfare of their citizens are winning this war of resource scramble.
In the past, some commentators have ascribed the failure of the continent to the so called “resource curse phenomena” while others (perhaps with supremacy mentality) have viewed and treated Africa as an imbecile-continent which can only function by constant outside intervention (i.e. exporting the North-South neo-colonial policies on the continent). However, none of these preposition should be taken serious because, against all odds, it took a couple of brave, determined, patriotic and farsighted guys to transform China from a backward peasant agrarian society to the position of the second largest (if not the first) economy of planet earth in just 2-3dacades (one of the wonders in our modern history). China, Singapore and the rest of the Asian tigers has therefore demonstrated that, with the right kind of leadership irrespective of the odds, any continent could bring economic prosperity to its people and thereby command respect for its citizens worldwide.
My heart bleeds with sorrow each day as I watch Africans perishing in the thousands each day fleeing from war zones – terrorists’ activities, political and social unrest, abject poverty, hopelessness, etc. and in light of all these, African leaders have demonstrated beyond all doubts how incompetent they have been in tackling the very basic needs of their citizens. The tragic situation of Africa not being able to free itself from the IMF/WB dictatorship crippling economic policies stem from the fact that, leaders of the continent have not been able to transcend beyond their personal greed to put the welfare of the continent first on the agenda. They still hold to the colonial borders and the divisions which permeate our way of thinking.
Instead of forming a common front (i.e. one voice for the defence of Africa) and using the continent vast resources as a bargaining power to demand fair treatment from all international bodies (i.e. in terms of trade negotiations and security issues), they have allowed pettiness disunity to create cracks on the continent’s negotiation platform which has enabled such international bodies to dictate how the continent is treated. Take for example the sad case of Libya, even though the AU emphatically opposed the war on Libya, NATO blatantly disregarded the concerned of the AU and went ahead destroying Libya anyway and now African are the ones bearing the severe consequences as witnessed by the perishing of thousands of Africans each day as they try to cross the Mediterranean sea to escape the terrorist killings which were ushered in as a result of NATOs illegal destruction of that country. It is worth noting that, before the destruction of Libya, it was one of the prosperous countries in Africa where many Africans have migrated to seek a better life.
Considering the never ending human suffering on the continent (with no end in sight), perhaps it is time for African leaders to honestly admit their failures (past and present) and how much their incompetence has dearly cost the continent and its citizens and begin a genuine effort to repair the damage done. They could start repairing the damage by putting the interest and welfare of the continent above all else and forming a genuine united African front (i.e. strong and prosperous AFRICA) to force all international entities to respect the concerns of the continent in all negotiations (demand fair treatment). For the sake of the continent, The history of business as usual (i.e. each country fighting for itself) should come to an abrupt end, since no single country in Africa can make it alone but only a genuinely united African front with enduring determination and foresighted leaders can end the perpetual cycle of failures and deliver prosperity to the people across the continent.
Author: Dr. Amos MensahDr. Amos Mensah
Agricultural and Resource Economist (Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at Georg-August-Universität Göttingen)