It’s a tough world where the ultimate currency is power. In this world, only the strongest thrive and the weak are left to pick up what is left. That’s just the way things have worked since the beginning of humanity.
These days, the power/influence of countries is ranked based on these 5 qualities: the leader, economic influence, political influence, strong international alliances and strong military alliances. Unsurprisingly, most African countries remain very close to the bottom of such rankings. Where do we start? Our leaderships are ridden with the frequent political crisis. As for military and economic matters, African countries always appear to be dependent on foreign intervention. It’s no wonder then that little value is placed on the lives and products of African society. Sadly, we have not consciously created much value for ourselves.
At the beginning of 2017, UN humanitarian chief Stephen O’Brien declared that more than 20 million people in Yemen, Somalia, South Sudan and Nigeria alone faced the threat of starvation and famine. Did you know that there’s still an ongoing starvation crisis in Nigeria as we speak? Or that mudslides in Sierra Leone have claimed over 500 lives so far and rendered nearly 1,000 missing; which remained under-reported until very recently, even within Africa?
Al Sharpton asked once, “Africa is the most mineral rich continent in the world. Why do we ignore (crisis) in Africa until we can’t ignore it any longer?”
The answer to this is hardly veiled. In a world where the number one motive is personal interest -safeguarding power and influence — relationships are only built on the mutual transfer of value. As long as African countries are unable to leverage strategically on our potential offerings in exchange for needed value, our position remains one of perpetual distress. In essence, we will continue to be disappointed by allies who have no reason to show up for our own causes.
So, the question shouldn’t be why African crises are ignored by other parts of the world but why even we, choose to ignore ourselves. Why do we not take our problems seriously until they attain international recognition? And why are we not harnessing our strong suites effectively, leaving them to be manipulated by outside parties?
Who are we waiting for to save Africa? This is a question much more of us need to consider. Popular consensus is that Africa alone can come to her own rescue. After all is said and done, it is left to us alone to build up our own independent institutions and strengthen them to the point where we can now talk about building relationships of value.
The key to doing this lies first of all in dispelling ignorance. Mirroring these exact thoughts,
No African country is truly free or independent; all of them are still being destabilized and manipulated so that their former European colonizers can still make profit. Education is the only way Africa can free itself from the oppression of the first world. — Kalidou Diouf.
Worldbank.org agrees that a sure way to end poverty in Africa is to promote poor people’s access to information.
But how? This, it seems, is the Herculean task and it is where you and I come in. Our educational systems, media and the internet have a huge role to play in bringing useful information closer to more Africans. The people need well-informed news stories that clearly centre on us, including insight into modern ways of creating opportunities and solving problems.
Having an idea about the cause of our problems and productive discussions on what it takes to make the kind of change we really want, takes away that resigned feeling of powerlessness and defeat. By promoting the right knowledge, it is possible to become a continent of problem solvers rather than one permanently in need of salvation.