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Problems Facing Africa

Updated on December 31, 2014

Thoughts on Africa

When someone mentions Africa, what is the first thing that pops into your mind? Is it the pictures of starving and malnourished children in the sub-Sahara? Or perhaps it’s the refugees in Dadaab camp. Maybe is the violence in Congo or the rising smoke in Libya. Do you picture mud classes and students left behind by progression of time and technology?

Does your mind's eye see the impregnated teenage girls and mothers who are yet to reach the age of getting an ID card? Do you imagine elephants crossing highways and chimpanzees entering homes? When you think of Africa, do you think of the poorly maintained roads or the hundreds of virgin girls waiting in line to be selected to be the next bride to a king? Is this your perception of Africa?

Problems Facing Africa

If you're waiting for me to say it's wrong, it’s not. Truth be told, all these things happen in Africa. However, they don't happen in ALL of Africa. International media coverage is drawn to these occurrences and amplifies them to show that picture of Africa being 'backward' and 'poor'. A continent whose countries rely on AID and well wishers from the developed world. Well, I disagree on this misconceived notion.

Whereas Africa has the slow annual economic growth rate of 5% as estimated by the World Bank, IMF and Africa Development Bank, Africa is not poor. The problems of Africa arise from Africa itself, and their solutions can come from none other but the Africans themselves.

Africa is not Poor!

It's a rich continent with poor people. Let's call a spade a spade, not a big spoon. People in Africa are the problem. Libya in 2012 produced an unbelievable 1.6 million barrels of oil per day. That’s A LOT of oil. Ghana is the world's second largest producer of cocoa. Angola is swimming in rich petroleum, and iron resources. In fact, Angola as of 2014 is Africa's third largest producer of diamond, despite the fact that they've only exploited 40% of its potential diamond mining areas. Nigeria's oil and agricultural wealth is undisputed.

Egypt has a $576 billion economy and 10% of it is purely from tourism. We can even go into East Africa. Prospects of huge oil and gas discoveries have made it a favourite of foreign direct investment, which totalled $1.7 billion in 2011. Tanzania is sitting on 60 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. Uganda oil revenues are estimated at $2.5 billion a year as soon as its starts pumping. Add Kenya's oil discoveries and East Africa can fuel continents. And then someone says Africa is poor. That is hogwash. Granted, there are problems in Africa.

The Unseen hand of Foreign AID

International and foreign aid comes with strings attached. It is so ineffective that Africa, having received the most international aid of al continents on the planet, is still the least developed. The aid does more harm good. Again, let's call a spade a spade: International AID is used by foreign governments to corrupt the African elite and make them make decisions that will benefit their own needs instead of the needs of the African countries. Worse still-it cultivates beggar mentality.

The African elite and youth are encouraged to shun responsibility and self sacrifice that is needed in controlling the destiny of their nations. How certain is this? If AID could develop anywhere, Africa could be the most developed continent on the globe.

Negative International Media Coverage

Ever heard of poverty porn? That's what is happening in Africa. Humanitarian organizations from UNICEF to Doctors without Borders need funding. To do that, they depict Africa with poverty-stricken, humiliating, and degrading pictures and videos. International media run to hotspots of violence and make it look like the whole nation is in turmoil, like CNN did in the Kenya 2013 national elections. They were exposed and apologized for their wrongful coverage.

Western media focuses on what Europeans or Whites are doing for Africa and how they are saving Africa. This gives the false impression that Africa is a hopeless place needing salvation only they can offer. The dignity of Africans is not n their minds. This is why everyone has the perceptions of Africa that I started with.

The effect of this is damaging Africa's image. But more than that, it affects the African's themselves. It harms their self-image and weakens their self-confidence. This is why many Africans migrate from their homes to 'developed' nations, because out there is better than home. Which is far from true.

Africans, the Root Cause their Problems

There are really two tribes in Africa: the haves and the have-nots. There are those who toil for their needs and those who lead lavish lifestyles for regardless of how little they contribute. There is nothing wrong with this: every society is like that. The problem comes in where the rich leaders are the barriers to the success of those below them.

Case example: An African youthful entrepreneur makes beautiful furniture. A Ministry in his country is looking for furniture for its premises. The entrepreneur takes his products to Ministry offices. The furniture is of high quality and it’s cheap. Then comes the minister. He will not give even a second look at what the entrepreneur has to offer. His ministry would rather import the same quality furniture from Europe. It comes with 'class'. The minister does not want 'home products'. Such is the scenario n the ground.

Governments will hire foreign contractors to do tasks that local companies are fully capable of handling. How are the local companies expected to develop?

Leadership and Vision

Africa is not short of brilliant people. They are everywhere. But they either lack vision for their country or the willpower to fight for and develop their home continent. They put their self desires before common good. By fact, there are leaders who shouldn’t be in their offices. They lack what it takes to push their countries forward. For some reason, they are always re-elected back into office. Call it brainwashing of an electorate. In fact, the electorate doesn’t hold their leaders accountable for their actions. But that’s a topic for another day. I digress.

African’s should come together. They should believe in themselves. A visitor will not come and build for you your home. As an African, you have the key to unlock the chains that are holding you down.

You can sit and wait for help. You can laze around waiting for someone to come and solve your problems, or you can rise up and say enough is enough. You are in control of your destiny. You control your future. Whether you make or break it it’s up to you.

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