Developing Africa by emerging Africa Leaders
If Africa must be developed, Africans must take the lead! Interestingly; Africa leaders have seen the indescribable benefits for working and collaborating with other Africa countries for the good of the Africa people. It was speculated by the founding fathers of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) that the greatest obstacle in the way of true African development was the lack of cooperation among African countries in the area of regional trade and collaboration.”
Unexpectedly; Exploring the trade romance between Africans and other nations of the world, it is loudly clear that for many years now the big regional powers in Africa have consistently and progressively sustain a steady trading relations with other countries like; Europe , North America and Asia much more than with fellow African Countries. Whereas smart countries like Francophone countries remained glued to France after independence and it’s the same for Anglo and Lusophone countries.
It is sad and highly disheartening that Africa countries have remained consumption and dumping centers mired in abject poverty in the midst of abundance and surplus. Take for example; crude oil is taken from big countries like Nigeria and exported to Europe. This same crude oil gives birth to around two hundred (200) different commodities and only about three (3) of such commodities are exported back to Nigeria at a cost much higher than what it was originally gotten.
To me, it appears as if the economies of many Africa countries have been designed as service economies to the prosperity, progress and general good of the economies of Europe. To reverse this unpalatable trend, Africa leaders must begin to take initiatives and see the development of the Africa continent as the sole responsibility of every African. It is difficult to understand why the shipment of a typical container from the RORO port in Lagos to London would cost $2,500 while same shipment from Lagos to Accra would cost $5,000. Such unfavourable pricing policy would make the cost of inter – regional trading more expensive and un-interesting with the attendant consequence of negative impact on the (Gross Domestic Product) GDP and overall regional prosperity.
Additionally, the Africa continent is a hub of all-round potentials and endless possibilities if only they can work together as an entity. If the countries that make up the Africa continent pull their education and other resources together, then speak with one voice, other nations of the world will be at their command; When Africa owns and controls their resources, they will attract the attention of the world. Illustratively; the Africa continent has over 1.3 Billion people and a trade potential of about $3 Trillion, this potential can earn Africa an unimaginable respect from other nations of the world. Between 1980 – 2000 Africa pushed the Lagos plan of Action for inter African trade with very limited head way. Under the auspices of the Africa Union (AU) the continent is back with its newest development initiative which is the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) . AfCFTA could boost Africa’s economy to $29trillion by 2050 if properly implemented and executed across the continent. The ultimate question now is; “Is Africa ready for the challenge?”
Moreso, according to The FDC Afriscope Volume 2, Issue 6, December 23, 2020” published by the Financial Derivatives Company Limited. The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is expected to commence in January 2021. The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is capable of boosting Africa’s economy to $29 trillion by 2050 from the current size of $2.6trn if properly implemented and executed across the continent.
Facing the challenge of black continent development-Africa
The major challenge of the development of the Africa continent has been poor governance bedeviled with nepotism, avarice, unpatriotic, corruption and obsessive stealing of public funds and future.
Sound governance practice and proper management of human and material resources has remained a major challenge for the development of the continent either at the regional, country or corporate levels.
If the full potential of the Africa continent must be realized then, this challenge must be adequately addressed and dutifully fought with cooperate energy and zeal. For instance there are immense opportunities in Africa’s $100 billion infrastructure deficit that is needed to make the regional initiative successful. Much is not been done to address this deficit instead we are giving the Chinese freedom to build these infrastructure and own them thus starting another journey in neo imperialism.
“The agreement has a huge potential as it would create the world’s largest single market of about 1.3 billion consumers and workers, thereby increasing opportunities for African manufacturers and businesses, especially those constrained by the size of their domestic markets. The question again is-Is Africa ready for the challenge?
Focus on Nigeria; the giant of Africa!
Nigeria is viewed and respected by other Africa countries and nations of the world as the giant of Africa. But with the advent of COVID-19 which has ravaged her economy, and notched with the declining relevance of oil in Nigeria, Nigeria should welcome the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) with open arms. However it is doubtful if Nigeria is ready for this new continental challenge.
According to Obadiah Malafia economists and former Central Bank Deputy Governor “Poor governance is one of the key drivers of poverty. Poor governance as manifested in corruption entails robbing the public of budgetary resources that could have been channelled into infrastructure and economic development,”
Suggested solutions to the challenges of Africa Development
#1 – Increase Supply not Managing Demands;
Erroneously; most Africa countries are managing their demands instead of increasing their supplies, this is an un-wise and unproductive economic policy. This policy will keep the economy of such countries grounded.
In the opinion of Doyin Salami, Chairman, Presidential Economic Advisory Council, “Where we are today in Nigeria is a mentality of poverty. We are managing demand, whereas we should be looking at expanding supply . Nigeria must increase the supply side of her economy,” this is germane for two reasons . We have a population of 200 million that is yet to be well serviced in terms of supply and we also possess the human and natural resources to dominate regional trade in West Africa.
# 2- Regional Integration
Africans must begin to enact laws and policies that will favour and further integrate the region into profitable region. There must be proper governance, accountability and openness in our public and private sectors across the continent. Africa leaders must see beyond their immediate walls, invest into other Africa countries and essentially be involve in the Africa Development project. Regional Integration in policies, trades, human capacity exchange and many other fronts is a must if the black continent must take her place among other continents of the world.
# 3 – Manufacture what you consume
Africans must begin to produce what they consume and consume what they produce. Unfortunately the manufacturing sector in Nigeria is not competitive due to high cost of power, lack of infrastructures, and supply of finance and poor competitiveness of the port system. To compete on the continent and at home companies must be innovative and explore opportunities through backward integration . In the words of Ike Ibeabuchi, a manufacturer “Nigerian firms must produce for export, rather than for just the local market. This would make them to rethink the quality of their products and, perhaps, price,”
Africans must begin to develop Africa!, it must begin with the Africans!!!
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Written by: Michael Umogun
Edited/Reviewed by: abouteverytin.com