“Together as a people, our primary responsibility and duty after voting people into power is to hold them accountable. These public office holders as servants of the people enjoy a lot of privileges at our expense hence we have a moral and constitutional obligation to raise our collective voices against them if they falter in their obligation towards us.”
If Africa is to fulfil its destiny of becoming a major economic power in the 21st century as global indicators show, old mindsets must change to reflect the clamour for a new African narrative. But there is a caveat. Finding the right calibre of leaders to drive the African renaissance is crucial.
Mathurin Houngnikpo, African History and Politics Professor at the Metropolitan State College of Denver and Colorado issues at the University of Denver, argues that Africa’s crisis must not only be ascribed to colonialism and neo-colonialism, but also to a failure of leadership among Africa’s elites.
According to Houngnikpo, leaders in Africa should begin to act in a manner that sends a strong signal to the rest of the world that Africa is weaning itself from the exploitation and control of external actors.
Africa cannot continue to allow the practice that promotes the unbridled export of natural resources to the “metropole” without any value addition.
It is against this backdrop that Walter Rodney for example prescribed a culture of selfless and visionary leadership as the realistic option for Africa to change her peripheral position within the global system to a position of strength and influence.
But have the African ruling political class risen to the occasion in this regard? As they say, the jury is out on that.
In taking up the challenge of providing and leveraging good leadership to resolve these challenges we must also be minded about the need to correct the worrying mindsets among some Africans that our failings as a continent owe principally to the decision to sever relationship with the colonial system. Nothing could be further from the truth.
This state of mind that colonialism represented the best thing that ever happened to the continent is interminably difficult to digest and should not be encouraged. In my writings so far, I have provided irrefutable historical and contemporaneous evidence on this matter.
Be as it may, it would be difficult to disagree with the viewpoint that Africa’s educated class or elite are complicit in the dire straits the continent finds itself.
Africa’s educated elite equate elitism with entitlement. They function on the thinking that having an education gives them the license to scramble for Africa’s resources for their ultimate gain or interest.
If the leaders are going to change the fortunes of our people they have to start looking inward instead of outward for solutions to our problems. The people of Africa are not lazy. Labour in Africa is relatively cheaper as compared elsewhere. Faced with a myriad of economic challenges on a daily basis our farmers, fisher folk, artisans and teachers still find the motivation to work to keep the wheels of production moving.
As Africa leverages its growing numbers and rapidly expand urbanized spaces to become a major global economic player in the foreseeable future there must be a corresponding investment in building the capacity of the African youth to be able to compete in the areas of technology and green initiatives.
Technologies that drive payment systems and green initiatives globally are worth billions of dollars. Let’s invest in them now and by so doing empower our young people to assume the commanding heights of these new industries.
The danger of inaction would justify the inhumane treatment we are subjected to at foreign embassies, airports and other points of entry. Going forward we must put on our thinking caps to develop strategy to push the economic development agenda that is now within your reach.
The global system is a one-armed bandit that can only be disarmed with intelligence and finesse. As it stands, the prospects of an African renaissance looks very bright indeed. Hopefully nothing is done within to scuttle it.