The African continent, a land with a population of about 1.6 billion people, boasts of rich natural resources and hosts a large diversity of human resources but still faces rampant economic challenges such as corruption, rising debts, and undesirable leadership. However, countries such as Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Rwanda and Angola are making strides in economic development by tapping into different bankable sectors.
Rwanda, a land which no one wanted to talk about two decades ago, now has every investor ticket booked to plant cutting-edge innovation infrastructure on its soils. As one journalist wrote; ‘Kigali is taking over, Kigali is taking over’. Indeed, Kigali is taking over! But where are the rest of the African nations?
My focus is not on Kigali and how President Paul Kagame, the Chairman of African Union is leading it to be a better placed country for economic growth. No, not today!
In his book, the African Dream , Malawi’s 3rd President, Bingu Wa Mutharika hinted on African unity in social and economic development. Bingu Wa Mutharika in his capacity as a chairman of African Union then, disclosed the importance of self-reliance to end hunger and improve people’s lives. In his acceptance speech, Bingu called for “Africa to develop Africa’’. Bingu was right! Totally right as some countries began to make progress. At some point Bingu received several social economic improvement related awards such as The United Nations Special Millennium Development goal (2010) for success towards eliminating hunger and enhancing food security. 2009 Medal of Glory award for economic reforms and FAO’s Agricola Medal in 2008, in honor of his substantial contribution towards food security.
But before Bingu Wa Mutharika’s era, the African Union had a ‘one talk, take’ chairman, Muammar al-Gaddafi, an equally fearless leader who fought for his country and in his old glory shifted his focus to economics in Africa by establishing ties with different countries within and overseas. Amongst others, countries such as Egypt and Algeria for oil and natural gas relations. United Kingdom, Pakistan, Indonesia, and Turkey for different economic and political benefits. Gaddafi in short, preached of a United Africa where even foreign sanctions and trade barriers between Africa and other continents wouldn’t entirely affect the economy of an African nation. Forthright, Mugabe came in, despite having an ailing economy, he preached Africa unite! Africa unite! A belief in the potential of the continent.
Fast forward to the present, Africa has seen President Paul Kagame of Rwanda championing Africa’s economic growth through unity and innovation and putting the youth on the forefront! That’s a 21st century minded leader! In his words at the 4th aviation Africa summit , Kagame says; sixteen countries in Africa are landlocked, including Rwanda that is almost one third of Africa. But every country is ” air-linked” so geography should not be seen as an excuse for underdevelopment.
African governments should invest in other African governments, African conglomerates should be a priority when it comes to investment. Give a chance to bankable individual investments and projects so that Africa can grow with its own resources and its own people which then benefits Africans.
A recent example of an African country helping another African country is South Africa which announced its plan to extend short term credit to Zimbabwe and also help it write off US$7.4 billion external debt, to prevent its neighbor spiraling out of control. Going forward, Africa as a continent needs to place itself on a global scale by investing in innovative infrastructures, empowering its citizens and implementing favorable trade, political and economic empowerment policies possible for economic growth. The notion is that African resources must be best utilized to aid Africa.
The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Best of Africa.
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