Re-thinking Africa beyond aid

25Jan 2018
The Guardian Reporter
The Guardian
  Re-thinking Africa beyond aid

"WE need to, and we shall move Africa beyond aid," so said President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo of Ghana during an event organised by the Royal Africa Society, Facebook and the Ghana 60 Years On Committee, on the theme: 'Africa beyond Aid', held in November 2017.

What he emphasised was vital in the realisation of an economically independent Africa that uses its resources efficiently for the good of the continent.

This idea stems from the many political, social and above all, the economic challenges and struggles that Africa had to endure over the years. Being called the Dark Continent, a begging giant and a place plugged by debt, hunger, disease and chaos.

International media continues to paint a harsh picture of the continent with everything bad and shameful describing the 'nature' of Africa.

The idea of aid is not wrong as it strengthens state cooperation, helps rebuild livelihoods and housing after disasters, can help increase food production and so improve the quality and quantity of food available on the continent.

Encouraging aid industrial development can create jobs and improve transport infrastructure among other benefits.

However, the will and provision of aid has changed its core purpose as corruption has taken centre stage, leading to the people who need it most not receiving it. Local politicians may use aid for their own means or for political gain, and donors may use aid to put political or economic pressure on African countries as a country may end up owing a donor country or organisation a favour. After all, sometimes aid is not a gift, but a loan, and poor countries may struggle to repay. Above all, aid can increase the dependency of Less Economically Developed Countries (LEDCs) on donor countries.

The elimination of the dependency syndrome that has held back the horns of Africa should be on the priority list of all African countries and the African Union, including all regional economic communities.

African countries have been recipients of aid since independence with no sign of economic and political improvement, while the continent is the fastest growing market for mobile phones and is home to the world's fastest growing economy, Ethiopia.

With all our resources that make the globe richer and capabilities that can be enhanced, the continent continues to stand still with no hope of realignment, revamping and rebuilding that foundation that sums up the spirit of the African people.

Many have spoken on the future of our beautiful continent, the path it has to take and the major priorities in order to achieve continental objectives. Thus, they are simple and require importantly the political will of those in power in order to influence the entire African populace. Unity remains key and a new dawn of thinking should come into play on the continent.

Therefore, African governments need to implement on policies that enriches democracy, creating the enabling environment for job creation especially for the youth, regional integration, and economic engagement, thereby effective regional integration to mention but a few.

All this can only be achieved when the overall political will of African leadership is enhanced and when priorities on youth development are fast tracked. Africa can get there and our continent can be perfected, it all depends on the respectful peoples of Africa to hold hands in the spirit of ubuntu, prepare, sensitise and decide on the future of our gorgeous continent. But first, let Africa break the dependency syndrome as Julius Kambarage Nyerere once said; "Independence cannot be real if a nation depends upon gifts."

*Kambarure Kaputu is a final-year BA. Hon Media Studies and Political Science student, Pan-Africanist and media advocate.