Breaking the Rut of Africa's Poverty

Posted 4 months ago | Originally written on 3 Jul 2008

If you're plumply tucked against your Korean sofa and expect Africa's liberation to arise from Africa's present leadership then you'll die a cold death. The African Union, while the de facto representation of Africa's political will, cannot be relied upon to bring to her what she needs. It's like high-brow committee that was formed to tackle poverty - don't be surprised if their recommendations are grossly impractical.

I can bet without proper historical reference that any liberation that had the necessary effect on the populace was initiated where the need was best felt - by the poor themselves. Presently, Africa is shrouded in the seemingly unshakable stigma of poverty yet it has the strongest development incentives: nowhere else has a higher energy demand while corresponding supply is lacking, nowhere else has lower illiteracy with the need for communications technology, nowhere else has lower wages with pressing developmental demands, nowhere else has more rampant disease with inadequate drug provision, and probably most importantly, nowhere else has cheaper labour to supply the potential next industrial revolution!

China and India roused from their slumber. They finally realised that spell that Western Civilisation had imposed upon them was so easy to shake off: just believe in yourself. Right now they industrial forces to reckon with.

We need a new crop of leaders who will wage war, not politically against neocolonial presence, but against the mindset that Africa was designed to be a consumer. They need to be technical genii, capable of using Africa's needs to their advantage to create the solutions that the world cannot do without. When Africa sees low cost computation, high-efficiency energy production and disease elimination from her kin she will be like a teenager preoccupied with a new talent: toying with the myriad possibilities.

Mugabe's intransigent stand, while of supposed noble purpose, only has gains for a political class. That is why the Zimbabwean economy continues to do wonders. He should try to beat Britain at their own game rather than waging a war on the physical layer.

Wake up, Africa! What were you dreaming about?