In 2010 many african nations will celebrate their 50th independence anniversary. That is considered as a Jubilee. After a half century of independence, poverty, development, Democracy and human rights are still major issues in most of African nations. Most of them remain the poorest nations in the world. After independences, to come from poverty and make development a reality many years have been spent applying economic policies (especially from Breton Woods Institutions), billions of dollars of aid have been spent and still poverty have not reduced significantly. What went wrong? And what can be done in order to reverse the situation?
What went wrong?
Leadership is the key issue. There was a failure of leadership. After independences many African countries stepped into military regimes. These regimes were dictatorship regimes and led with one gaol: rule by oppression and not be accountable to the people. That was an irony. People fought for freedom from colonialism and they got it, they in turn were oppressed by their own leaders.
Most of the leader did not take decisive actions to lead their nations on the path of economic development and Democracy. They rather ruled for their own interest. Most of them are nowadays classified among the richest personalities in the world. They created what is called a one political party regime which ruled many Africans countries for over decades. Living their people in a terrific poverty, the stayed in power without sharing it for years. For example in Togo, Gabon, and Zaire (now Democratic Republic of Congo), each President ruled for more than 30 years.
What can be done to reverse the situation?
Africa is the richest continent in raw materials, but its people are the poorest in the world. That’s the African paradox. Many years of exploitation of these raw materials did not benefit the people. But leaders and their relatives benefited the most.
To come from poverty, Africans need to be ruled by accountable leaders with a real vision for their nation: economic development through hard work. In Haute Volta (now Burkina Faso) T. SANKARA tried to improve the living conditions of his people through a vision: Bringing people together in a common vision, development through hard work and patriotism. But unfortunately his work ended by a coup d’état. It become an African culture to end a regime by a coup d’état. That also added to Africans trials.
The need to promote democratic regimes is also part of solutions to Africans problem. Leaders should understand that there is no need to stay in power for many years with the risk to become a dictator. Unfortunately in this twentieth century, some leaders on the continent are still holding to their sit as if there are no viable people to replace them. What they bring to their people is only frustration and anger. That is actually happening in Niger, where the president would like to change a law in the constitution in order to remain in power.
Investing in people not military arsenals. Most of Africans regimes invest millions or billions of their currency in military weapon. But there more important areas where to invest. Education must be the government’s priority. When that area is neglected, it leads to a catastrophic situation in the future, as it is the only way to improve the country human resource ability.
2010 must be a year of assessment for all African nations. Africa must not remain the last continent in the development process because it is in fact a rich continent.