• Africa must believe in itself and stop glorifying foreigners and buying inflated foreign projects at the expense of its own people.
• The 22nd The next century is for Africa, if we get it right and opportunity finds preparedness.
The 19th Century was for Great Britain, the 20th was for America, the 21st is clearly for China. The next century is for Africa, if we get it right and opportunity finds preparedness. Our greatest threat and competitor is India. What motivates leaders is either public service for either personal gain or for public good. First, we must interrogate the purpose of the modern African state since the role of a vassal state is to extract resources, to benefit a foreign power usually through the compliance of selfish and corrupt leaders/gatekeepers.
Africa is vast. It is the size of the USA, China, Japan, France, UK, Spain, Belgium, the whole of Eastern Europe, India, Mexico, Netherlands, Germany, and Switzerland combined plus some few island states. It takes more than 24 hours, to move from one end to another by plane. Despite this, the continent is losing over $50 billion (Sh5.18 billion) annually through illicit financial flows, as researched by the Mbeki AU Commission. This pales in comparison with the investments that other countries such as China or the US are injecting into the continent.
For example, China only spent $12 billion in 2017 on infrastructure investment, with Kenya getting the lion’s share of $3.2b billion for the SGR. While the continent's population is about 1.2 billion people, China’s is 1.395 billion. However, it’s projected that by 2050, Africa will have 2 billion people and by 2100, one out of every four people globally shall be African. Population growth provides a great opportunity for development.
Africa must believe in itself and stop glorifying foreigners at the expense of its own people. For example, we haven’t been able to retrieve the bodies of mother and daughter in the Likoni Ferry accident we are waiting for foreigners to help. The AU headquarters was constructed for $200 billion, by China Aid, yet each of the 54 African countries could easily have contributed $3-4 million to finance the project. This would demonstrate sovereignty and self-reliance.
Africa’s moment is coming by 2100 or earlier. Are we prepared or we will sell our birthright again through rent-seeking due to our low self-esteem and inflated ‘foreign’ projects that enable direct wealth transfer from our natural resources through foreign companies?
However, due to the ‘donor’ mentality, few member countries pay their dues. This gives opportunity to foreigners, especially neo-colonialists, to fund and therefore control the AU agenda. It’s telling the KRA import baggage scanner at JKIA is also donated by China Aid. They can easily gather intelligence on what goods we import from where. This can inform their manufacturing and trade strategies. The same strategy has been used to supply free computers to the AU headquarters and the Kenyan Parliament. They can be used to gather intelligence as and when decisions are made and documents developed. There is no free lunch.
However, Africa cannot develop on its own as it needs to cooperate with other continents. We have come from the era of dependency during colonial times, then the independence era and currently interdependence. Coercion and violence were used during the colonial era since the colonialists had superior weapons and other monopolies of subjugation.
Independence came as a result of both armed struggle and the selfless leadership of freedom fighters and nationalists. Such strategies cannot be used in the new era of interdependence. Use of soft power strategies are the ingredients necessary to an interdependent relationship to enable technology transfer, financial modelling and ease of doing business. Cheap energy is very important to power businesses and innovation for Africa.
The US has 1000MW per capita in comparison to Africa’s 10MW. This despite the fact Inga falls in Congo can produce over 400,000MW to power the whole of Africa, yet the cost of electricity remains high for homes and businesses. Africa has a great opportunity to use partnerships to improve its infrastructure while developing its own industries due to abundant land. Moreover, if we are to be prepared for the economic take-off, sound land-use policies, cheap labour, technological innovations, good governance and sound macro-economic principles, the fight against corruption and impunity, national cohesion, the rule of law, self-discipline and innovative leadership are critical.
Africa’s moment is coming by 2100 or earlier. Are we prepared or we will sell our birthright again through rent-seeking due to our low self-esteem and inflated ‘foreign’ projects that enable direct wealth transfer from our natural resources through foreign companies? The reduction of the African population is a strategy hatched by America’s Kissinger, in the 1970s. The killing or removal from power of independent African leaders by CIA and similar outfits as in Congo’s Patrice Lumumba, Kwame Nkurumah in Ghana and Muammar Gaddafi in Libya, is another strategy to finish good brains that provide leadership to the continent.
We need to love ourselves for Africa to Arise.