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The Challenges Facing Africa, And Some Solutions


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The Challenges Facing Africa, And Some Solutions

The continent of Africa is embroiled in various issues that need a united front to tackle. From insecurity in some parts to the lack of electricity and basic amenities in others, the African continent never seems to make the news, especially headlines, for any positive reason. Those who write the stories seem to forget how to write when good things happen on the continent. But, more importantly, there are subtle and less obvious issues facing our young generation. We have a large and growing youth base in the continent. And based on AU’s data, more than 60% of Africa’s population is under the age of 25. By 2030, young Africans are expected to constitute 42% of global youth. That’s almost like two out of every four youths globally will be African. And what this means is that Africa has the youngest population in the world with more than 400 million young people aged between the ages of 15 to 35 years. Such a young and vibrant population calls for the adjustment of our developmental agendas and priorities, to specifically target their needs. So, in a continent where poverty, the lack of investment in youth, the availability of foreign and locally funded militias, kidnapping gangs, and human trafficking empires have become sources of quick cash for young Africans, we need to make up our minds quickly about prioritizing their needs before it’s too late. The continent’s problems are not solely the result of external factors, but rather a combination of internal and external factors that can be addressed through our collective action. But to begin to talk about what to do by way of solution, we must first take a look at the various key challenges. Key Challenges: 1.           Bad Governance: One cannot overemphasize the importance of good governance. Corruption, nepotism, and mismanagement of resources serve as major obstacles to development. For every nation of the world with a working economic system or political system, we must remember that it does not work because the sun that rises and sets on them is different from the sun that rises and sets on the other nations whose systems are not working well. It takes humans and the creation of purpose-oriented systems to make a nation or a continent work. And in as much as it is ok to call Africa “one nation” of people, Africa is a collection of fifty-five or fifty-four countries, depending on who you ask. And what that means is, for Africa to work through good governance, it cannot start from AU’s headquarters and some overpriced conferences. It must start with good governance in the countries that make up the AU. We cannot keep giving positions of power to those who are not fit to run those positions nor can we give political positions as rewards for political support. As a form of solution to bad governance: some put much emphasis on the importance of democratic governance, transparency, and accountability to ensure that resources are managed equitably and that citizens’ voices are heard. And this is ok. But we all can tell that democracy alone without the moral and political will to do the right thing will simply become another institutional machine for the manipulation of geopolitics and control of the sovereignty of less powerful states. Take for example, there is a democratically elected government in the Democratic Republic of Congo, but we all know that much of the chaos in that country is caused by foreign powers who use the chaos as a distraction for stealing natural resources. So, of what use is a democratic system of government if it does not serve the purpose of the people? Or if it’s used for manipulation of internal policies which subject the people to the horrors of foreign puppeteers? I would choose the non-democratic government of Thomas Sankara which put the people at the center of all national policies rather than support a democratic system that does the opposite. 2. Environmental Degradation: I do not see climate change as something standing on its own or an action that is self-propelling but as a consequence or reaction to our wayward use of the environment. Well, that’s if the climate change narrative is even genuine, and not some hoax to twist the world towards a direction. The devastating impact of environmental degradation, including deforestation, soil erosion, and climate change on African communities can no longer be overlooked or subjected to annual AU, WEF, or UN summits where lies are spoken more than simple truths are shared and shameless promises made. Each country in Africa must understand their environment, and make policies that give strength to those whose indigenous knowledge systems have created solutions for millennia. Africa does not lack local solutions to its local problems, but we keep missing the point because of over-reliance on foreign aid and foreign solutions that are not suited to local problems. We must break out of this mentality that for anything to work in Africa, it must take the input of some “brains” and “intelligence” from outside the continent. It’s counter-productive, especially when you consider the fact that not everyone who comes into the continent to “offer solutions” is a tourist or investor, some are data collectors and agents of foreign militaries and intelligence agencies. As a form of solution: we must not take for granted sustainable environmental management practices, such as reforestation and sustainable agriculture, to mitigate the effects of climate change and promote eco-tourism. Laws and policies that empower local systems that care for the environment must be put in place and also nurtured. We must stop this stupidity of talking about local environmental empowerment only when some royals from the UK or some investors from the UAE come to our countries. We must stop these I-don’t-care attitudes and photo ops that we do and sit down to make real things happen. 3.           False Competition over Resources: It is easy to think and also claim that many conflicts in Africa are fueled by competition over resources, such as land, water, and minerals. But how true are these claims of lack of resources? Take, for instance, seventy percent of Namibia is unoccupied by humans and many African countries have vast areas where no one lives. So, have you asked yourself where the narrative of overpopulation in Africa is stemming from? You could say one of such sources is the massive American propaganda machine that President Vladimir Putin spoke to Tucker Carlson about. But the part you don’t hear about this narrative of overpopulation in Africa is America’s NSA document called NSSM-200 which gives details of how natural resource-rich countries in Africa are subjected to chaos, terrorism, medical genocide using vaccines and contraceptives, to make sure their young energetic youths don’t ever rise one day and question why and how their natural resources are being stolen out of their countries. So, while some of our African youths are running to Europe and America for greener pastures, and more are wishing to do the same, young Chinese, American, and European investors or bounty hunters are rushing into the continent and buying up huge tracts of ancestral land. The question is, at the rate at which these ancestral lands in Africa are being bought by foreigners, in ten years, on what land will the African youths whose immediate future will be a population of two in every four youths in the world, build their development? As a matter of speaking for a solution to the issue of false competition over natural resources: we must consider stronger regional cooperation among countries of the same regions. We must embrace regional cooperation and collaboration to address common challenges and promote economic integration. We must stop this misbehavior of going to AU summits to make high-sounding statements about Africa’s unity but we can’t stand each other at our local borders. Relationships are not built because there are no offenses, relationships are built irrespective of offenses, and based on forgiveness, and keeping our collective eye on the goal. Rwanda, for instance, in the name of sourcing natural resources should not be causing violence in the DRC. No, that should not be. Rwandese and the Congolese people are one people just as all Africans are one people. Based on the principle of Ubuntu, if you need what I have because nature did not put that thing in your own land, why not come to me as a brother or sister and let’s see how we can share or barter what is available on both our lands? Why do we resort to violence in Africa, which clearly is a Western and European style of conquest and grabbing? Why is it so difficult for African countries to create and share among themselves local solutions to local problems? Why do we fight ourselves and hinder our collective progress instead of working together to create solutions that give Africa a real edge in the global space? We need to grow up. 4.           Lack of Empowerment: There is a massive need to empower individuals, particularly women and youths to take ownership of their development and make informed decisions about their communities. There has not been any other time in the history of humanity in which the youth have been so confused about everything than this modern day. They are confused about everything. There’s gender confusion, marriage confusion, family confusion, confusion between what is real and false, and confusion between eating healthy food for nourishment and eating junk to satisfy cravings. The list is long. But these confusions are not stand-alone issues, they are simply pointers to the systemic failure of the world and the moral degradation that we have embraced as humans in the name of liberty, and individualism. In thinking of and putting together solutions: Community Empowerment must be given real priority. Community empowerment must stop being what we use for campaigns and then discarding it when we get the positions we seek. People must be empowered to take ownership of their development through education, capacity-building, and community-led initiatives. A national government that wants to do well must put in place modalities that empower its local governments. We cannot run away from this if truly we want to fix Africa. In conclusion, the challenges that Africa faces are not a call to despair but a call to action, urging Africans to take responsibility for their development and to work together to address the continent’s challenges. We all must be open to realistic and optimistic perspectives, which highlight our potential for positive change through collective action and sustainable development practices. A sixty-year-old man should, by chance or by the act of decision, be self-sustaining and not a beggar going to every world summit to plead for loans which become debts that put his people under servitude. A word is enough…be wise.
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