Africa has been declining over the past 50 years in every area- be in politics, economics, environment, socially. What has happened that we are declining in all of these areas? The good news is that if we’re failing generally, it is likely to be for one key reason. I believe the reason is that we do not have a cultural foundation to development strategies in Africa.
we abandoned it. Traditional in Africa we had strong families and
strong communities. There was no nation in Africa that was built on
weak families and weak communities. Today we are stuck in the colonial
paradigm. But the colonial powers did not need strong families and
strong communities- they were industrialized. Africa is 70% rural.
A rural population needs strong families and strong communities in
order to thrive.We are assuming, incorrectly, that a strong state and
strong government can solve our developmental challenges. I don’t
think that will happen.
I believe we need to modernize Africa, not Westernize it.It will take
more than 200 years to Westernize it. It will be much cheaper, easier
and quicker to figure out what kind of African society we need at
family level and community level and modernize that.
The colonial legacy in Africa explains our poverty. Our poverty is not
material.We are defining poverty at the wrong level. Africa has
material poverty just because we are producing things we don’t depend
on, and we depend on things we don’t produce look at the problems
faced by Zimbabwe over the past 10 years. You can put them down to one
common denominator: foreign exchange. Why are short of foreign
exchange ? Because we produce things we don’t depend on,and we depend
on things we don’t produce. We crafted our own economics backwards.
The second most important form of poverty is cultural, when you lose
identity and confidence. Confidence is the most important ingredient
for any success. And then there is spiritual poverty, which is the
deepest level of poverty. This is when you don’t believe in your own
knowledge,and you don’t believe you can survive without your
My issue with the colonial legacy is not anger or hatred, the point
I’m trying to make is not that we should not have had colonialism.
History is history, let it go. My issue is with us Africans creating a
We need to take land further so that we are able to move it beyond the
idea that party politics has to center around land.If we don’t move
beyond that point we will be in trouble for much longer.Success is
defined as being able to acquire new things we need a nation whilst
keeping the things we already have.
The Africa I want to see is in four parts:
*Culturally we need to return to the culture of hard work, saving and
investment, collective responsibility,a belief in education and an
enlightened society and a love for peace.
*Business and economics – small businesses, not large ones but adding
up into large businesses. I want a rural middle class, not urban one.
70% of the African population is rural. We can’t wait for the 30% of
the population which is urban to be middle class before we have
serious engagement with governments, we need it tomorrow.
*Politics and governance, I want to see a highly decentralized system
where land issues are dealt with right where the land is, not in
Pretoria or Lagos,Gaborone. I want a constitution which is very clear
about what conduct political parties must observe.
* Technology, I want low cost, energy efficient and with more solar and wind.
When it comes to land,I want to see a Africa where there is abundant
and affordable food and where each family has a home. Our land
policies should make it possible for any adult to be afforded a small
piece of land on which to build a home- even if it’s not arable.This
policy alone could transform how we relate to land.
The Africa dilemma is : does democracy lead to development, or does
development lead to democracy? Africans are struggling with the
relationship between democracy and development. We have been sold a
dummy for ideological reasons by the West. Democracy does not lead to
Democracy moves us towards what we had in the past: humanism.
Democracy is an attempt at a good social order. But you can have
development without democracy. So how do we have both? let’s separate
the issue of material development from the issue of humanism/democracy