‘IMAGINING THE FUTURE OF THE WORLD ’
AFRICA IN PERSPECTIVE.
Have you ever imagined how the world will turn to be like? Have you given a second thought of the giant success the world will be achieving? It seems to be skeptical in the eyes of many all over the world today but there is always a light at the end of the tunnel. We can’t be victims of the past anymore as rightly said by President Barack Obama. For the future of the world to be of good standing, the imperative lies in the hands of all and sundry. The development of the world is not an individual’s business but a shared responsibility for all. It is on this effect that I outline some possibilities for the future of the world.
Economically, Africa has faced tremendous challenges in terms of foreign trade, investment, per capita income and other macroeconomic growth measures. We have not effectively made good use of our agricultural products and the oil and gas resources. The World Bank reports show that the economy of Sub-Saharan African countries grew at rates significantly equal to global rates. The question is, ‘’Why is Africa still poor?’’ What are we not doing right?
In Agriculture, we must focus on exporting more of our finished goods than raw goods. We must channel our resources towards processing our raw materials like tomatoes, fishes into cannery products. While we do that, we must ensure that we are able to fund for the processing. Funding for the project can be done through partnership and investments with other neighboring countries. While we export our food crops, we must ensure that there is more than enough to feed our people in Africa. Increased investments in Agricultural technology and the introduction of modern farm machines and equipment would greatly decrease poverty in Africa making her more viable in International trade with other continents of the world.
Our educational system in Africa needs a more pragmatic reformation. For a high potential growth in our economy for the long term, our educational curriculum must shift from a theoretical to a practical learning base. Our Schools, Colleges and Universities must teach students not only to acquire knowledge but to look for and solve problems in their society out of the knowledge acquired. Students must be taught entrepreneurial skills so that upon graduation from school, they acquire acuity in creating jobs for themselves and the world at large. The rate of unemployment in Africa is very high due to the failure of our educational system to enact policies of practical pedagogy.
In recent times, the Tourism and the Creative sector have taken center stage in the growth of African’s economy. In 2013, Ghana recorded the fourth highest foreign exchange earner after Gold, Cocoa and remittance from Ghanaians abroad contributing to 4.7 per cent to GDP. In terms of employment, 319,000 jobs were created in the tourism sector. Africa is blessed with so many tourist sites like Mountain Kilimanjaro and Lake Chad. With the needed investments and appropriate attention, Africa would be the highest foreign earner in the Tourism sector.
Africa is the lowest industrialized continent; it is only a few like South Africa, Egypt and Morocco who are improving in the manufacturing and communication sectors. Our factories must have state-of-the-art machines to produce more goods. The Government of African countries must subsidize the cost of raw materials for the production of finished goods. An educated populace, good infrastructure and a stable source of electricity to power the industry must be readily available. Africa must give attention to technology. The boom in communication technology and local mining industry cannot be overemphasized. I must recommend the Sub-Saharan Africa on that note for making giants steps in improving this industry. In order to attract industrial investments, we must offer tax incentives for foreign direct investment projects in manufacturing, communication and technology and the mining industry. Mauritius have plans in developing what is called the new ‘’green technology’’. This would open new markets for Africa in the future since the oil reserves are drying up and fossil fuel-based technology are economically not feasible.
Environmentally, Africa seeks to ride above her problems on growth sustainability, maternal health and child mortality, HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases. We have chalked some improvements in waste management but there are still more room for improvement. In 2000, the UN entreated all Heads of State to work on achieving the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDG’s) by 2015. The eight goals are to eradicate poverty and hunger, achieve Universal Primary Education, promote gender equality and empower women, reduce child mortality, improve maternal health, combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases, ensure environmental sustainability and enhance a global partnership for development. Significant progress is being made even though there are several factors hindering the progress of these goals.
Africa is pregnable with natural resources. These resources have brought significant improvement to Africa and her people. Africa must concentrate on efficient and effective exploitation of these resources such as Gold, Cocoa, Timber and Diamond for growth sustainability. This must be done by the establishment and revamping of the Environmental Protection Agency in all Africa countries to manage our resources. New policies must be introduced to ensure that our resources are being managed by skilled professionals and not amateurs.
Also, the housing deficit in Africa is staggering. To manage this problem, the private sector in collaboration with the Government must finance the construction of cheap housing units. The Real Estate Developers Association of Africa countries must discuss a proposal with their respective Government on the contribution to construct affordable houses in Africa.
Sanitation is a major problem. 11 years from now, Africa must transform more of its waste into recycled products. This should be done the by the establishment of more recycling and waste management companies like Zoomlion Company Limited. There must be a creation of awareness by all African states on the need to improve sanitation. Punitive measures must be put in place by public agencies to check sanitation in each country. South Africa is one of the countries ensuring the implementation of this policy so as to reduce cholera and other contagious diseases.
Energy is one of the basic necessities Africa needs to revamp if she aims at developing by 2025. In our quest to enhance the Manufacturing, Communication, Agriculture and Mining sectors there must be an availability of uninterrupted power supply. We must increase power generation by venturing into renewable energy such as: solar and wind energy, since our climate is a viable factor. Investments must be channeled into manufacturing solar panels in African countries. While we do that, we must have subsidiary power generation supply should in case there is interruption of one of our power supplies. The quality of power supply must not be compromised also. Ghana’s electricity connectivity at 75 per cent is the highest in Sub-Saharan Africa after South Africa.
In our quest for development, our health services in Africa must be active in the discharge of their duties. We must focus on ensuring that there are health centers in all rural communities and while we do that we must also seek the improvement of health centers in the urban areas as well. We can do this by seeking assistance from donor countries and funding projects relating to health from our internally generated funds. Ghana has made remarkable improvements by reducing child mortality, improving maternal health, and seeks to minimize HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases thoroughly. These part of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG’s) entreated by United Nations (UN). The course for development in 2025 can only be achieve if all hands on deck fight against diseases by ensuring proper sanitation in the households.
Socially, Africa is rich in cultural and moral values. Our culture portrays the African man as one who is strong, optimistic and self-determined. Our dressing, food, festival, sporting and other ceremonial activities have distinct us from the rest of the world. This was what our founding fathers stood for and we must ensure its sustainability thereby showcasing it to the entire world. While we uphold our values, we must also keep up to the changes in the way of life by adopting the positive values of our foreign countries. This would bridge the gap between formality and informality and ensure a lasting cooperation among these foreign states. Also, we must sell the things we have as a continent to the entire world so as to boost our local contents. I have always championed the course of buying made-in-Africa goods. If as Africans we do not patronize our goods and rather find interest in buying foreign goods, then how do we develop as Africans. Rather than importing materials we can produce from abroad, let us ensure that we boost our local contents in Africa. For example, some African countries import items like shoes, sugars, cannery products, whereas there can be a creation of a manufacturing company to produce these goods. We cannot continue to be importing most of the consumable goods and expect a rise in our respective currencies. Our net export is currently very low; In order to solve this problem, a local content law must be passed in all African countries allowing the private sectors to participate fully in building capacity to produce more local goods. Government agencies must be willing to partner with private firms in a way of giving subsidies to elevate the production of goods and services; Quality and value for money must not be compromised in this process.
Politically, Africa has gone through many challenges in her bid to attain political power from its colonial masters. Kudos to leaders like Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, Nelson Mandela for championing our political freedom. After Africa’s independence, the imperative lies on all and sundry to uphold what has been fought for us. We have received foreign aid in due course and the benefits of this aid have been mixed. Some unscrupulous leaders have embezzled this aid leaving the African continent in abject poverty. Great efforts have been made so far in solving this menace. Africa has moved for an autocratic leadership style to a more appropriate and resilient style of governance, a governance which aims at placing the interest of the people first. Some rulers are working to improve the standard of living in their nation and that is a step in the right direction. Meanwhile, I must acknowledge the leaders in power who are considering and creating the necessary opportunities for their opponents to take actively part in governance. We must also do away with political policies and embrace national policies that affect the entire lives of all citizens of a state. This ensures political stability thereby creating a siren environment for maintaining transparency, development and accountable governance.
Corruption is a major canker affecting Africa. She is regarded as the most corrupt in the world. Corruption erodes national resources and renders government the inability to invest in people. It takes away the pride of a nation. Africa is making giant strides in fighting this canker. In my view, we must put measures in place to prevent corruption both in the government and non-governmental sectors. Institutions must be established to investigate cases of corruption. Mechanisms must be put in place to check the activities of all individuals both in the public and private sectors. The media must play an active role in fighting corruption by ‘naming, shaming and jailing’ persons who have acted corruptly. I acknowledge the works of my Ghanaian investigative journalist, Anas Amereyaw Anas who is championing the course of eradicating corruption in Africa. Also we must pursue and punish people who act corruptly; they must pay for the misappropriation of public funds. This would serve as a deterrent to others from engaging in such corruptible activities. Our laws must be strictly adhered to and effectively enforced by the custodians of the law, The Police Service. While I speak on corruption, I must re-affirm my commitment as a youth in fighting it in my sphere of contact. We can eradicate corruption from Africa if we all join hands to fight it by individually refraining from the act first.
The African woman is filled with potentials that unlock the vast opportunities for the development of African. She has integrity, beauty and leadership skills and with the needed assistance, her contribution to Africa’s progress may be felt. Africa has shifted from the archaic age to a modern age where she gives eminence to the promotion of gender equality. Some African countries have made collective efforts in the struggle to promote gender equality and empower women to take up leadership roles. President Joyce Banda is one of the numerous women raising the flag of feminism very high. Although there is still male dominance in Africa, policies, laws and legal innovations are being put in place to reduce this autonomy for sustainable development.
The New Africa is the continent of hope, peace and prosperity. It is the gateway to the rest of the world. The image of Africa would be of good standing when our natural resources are fully utilized; we must export more than we import goods, we must maintain and cultivate entrepreneurial skills in our youth, we must seek the interest of our people first, we must do away with corruption, in addition, we must promote gender equality and empower our woman, furthermore, we must value our rich culture, values and traditions, moreover, when we must improve on sanitation and lastly, we must increase investments among neighboring countries. There is a reason why foreigners always have interest for Africa; this is because of the numerous opportunities in this blessed continent. The world loves Africa. Let us not allow greed, political interest and negative thoughts be the major factors to the under-growth of Africa. Africa belongs to you: The people who work tirelessly to earn a living, the students who study to be better people in future, the entrepreneurs who solve societal problems and many, more people contributing their quota to the prosperity of Africa.
I acknowledge our beloved past leaders who gave up their lives to the service of Africa. These great men and women went all out to seeing to the development of Africa. We would forever be grateful we had them and always eulogize their personality. We must all emulate their character traits and develop a patriotic society within all Africa states. We must all rise to the challenge of transforming and making the world a better place than we met it. I believe we can and so do you. With God on our side, we will surely prosper.
NAME; ERIC VONDEE
SCHOOL; UNIVERSITY OF CAPE COAST (UCC)
NUMBER; +233 24 572 8338