Monday, August 2, 2010

Let a Quartet Drive Africa?s Development

Man was made to improve his environment and that is why on a daily bases, the secrets of nature are being discovered by the intelligent ones leading to the advancement of humanity. These would come in forms of new research discoveries, inventions and innovations.
Stagnancy is not the way of nature and man must abide by this principle or sink to the level of animal where he once was.
The world is progressing faster because of legacies left by intelligent and wise ones like albeit Einstein, Socrates, Michael Faraday and many others but Africa seems to be left out in this progress.

I have devoted much of this column since we were given the go ahead by the Editor-in-Chief of this great media to the cause of Africa because during my earlier days in journalism, a mentoring editor told me to concentrate on Africa as a foreign correspondent because that should be the region bordering us.

This fired my passion and made me to look around me to see whether the continent is truly helpless as often portrayed by the foreign media but in my quest I was elated to learn that the continent has tremendous resources but has an amazing deficit in leadership.

Now, what of the power of its critics within? I discovered that the critics within look at the continent using the same lens as the foreign media they read and one can neither blame the foreign media nor these critics because the mind can only regurgitate what it has sipped.

But oftentimes, the critics do not offer any solution believing that the leaders they lampoon cannot entertain alternative reasoning.
Any person who has been in any type of leadership position must have realized how tasty some leaders are to advice and guidance and how charlatans exploit this lacuna.

To this end I would call on critics of African leaders to be ready to offer solutions as well to make sure that this our great continent comes to realise the God ordained function of leadership it must assume in the years to come.
My suggestion is that rather than three countries as proposed by former foreign affairs minister, Chief Ojo Maduekwe, four countries, Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa and Angola must come together to form a quartet to map a way to the emancipation of the continent economically.
Of course, that does not mean that other countries would be left behind but their efforts would help to propel other countries like, Equatorial Guinea which often prides itself in a funny way as Spain on Africa and the likes of Egypt which does not wholly identify with the continent into action.

South Africa has an edge because its economy is strong and in 2008 it ranked fourth on the Ibrahim Index of Good Governance and has been acclaimed by various informed categorizers as organized.
By UN classification the country is has abundant supply of resources, well-developed financial, legal, communications, energy, and transport sectors, a stock exchange that ranks among the top twenty in the world, and a modern infrastructure supporting an efficient distribution of goods to major urban centres throughout the entire region.

Nigeria is the most populous country on the continent with 150 million people and the sixth supplier of petroleum worldwide. Its major inhibition is bad governance but it has practiced consistence democracy for more than a decade now thereby signaling stability. The economy  is one of the fastest growing in the world. It is a hegemon in West African sub-region.
Ghana has demonstrated that it can recover fast from the shock of backwardness that lasted for more than a decade. It is well endowed with natural resources and has twice the per capita output of the poorer countries in West Africa. It has recently discovered oil in large quantity.

Angola is the only major competitor with Nigeria in oil supply on the continent.The economy is the fastest growing in Africa and one of the fastest in the world. The country pulled back from disarray caused by a quarter century of civil war into a period of transformation in recent years.
Now, with these success stories, who would say that there is no future for a continent where there are surplus natural resources.
Rather than acting solo on their countries, it may work better for these emerging economies to come together and map out a way for the other countries to fall in line and the strategies,  I would write on this column in the days to come with consultation from experts.

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