Dev’t Challenges: Africa Needs To Be More Assertive

 Those who think the world can be subjected to one thinking cap will forever be wrong. Different civilisations have risen and fallen, but none has enjoyed worldwide dominance. The constant quest for supremacy by certain cultures has given rise to what some see today as a condescending attitude towards other societies which project themselves as models to the rest of humanity. This is often demonstrated through attempts to create a unipolar world whereby those bent on serving as torch-bearers want to be heard, even if in public they claim to accept everyone. In all of these, Africa has continued to be the underling or most disfavoured, with all the nefarious effects that accompany such sense of neglect. 
A typical example of how countries strive to side-line others was the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 and the current conflict between Russia and Ukraine with the attendant global recession further exposing Africa’s vulnerability. When such difficult circumstances combine with the discourse of other world leaders talking of coming to help Africa to develop, build infrastructure and so on, it becomes worrisome. It speaks of a demeaning view which seeks to keep Africa in the back seat of World Affairs as if to say its place remains outside. Yet, it is common knowledge that most of the countries that talk down on Africa have for decades powered their development with raw materials from the continent. The practice has not ended and some critics even see their hidden hand in the inability of the continent to move forward.  The somehow growing interest in Africa through increasing bilateral and multilateral meetings with either the entire continent or individual nations is not always seen by all as meant to benefit the African Continent.      
Africa being undermined by most powerful nations that only cherish the wealth of the continent is seen in the shabby treatment of migrants from Africa. They are not only allowed to perish in the high seas, but even when they survive such hazards, they are reduced to menial jobs in host communities. Only those who fight to perform extraordinary feats are opened any window of opportunity. Certainly, no one is calling for the celebration of mediocracy by any nation, but when people are obliged to accept alien values or told to discard their value systems just because they are African, then that should be a problem. For instance, even when predictions about an apocalyptic Africa during the Covid-19 pandemic failed, there are still people who have not stopped presenting Africa as a high risk continent. That has simply inserted itself into a narrative which existed over the years with Africa only making headlines for negative issues as if nothing good happens there. No sooner did the Coronavirus subside than the conflict between Russia and Ukraine erupted with its attendant consequences on the Continent. Some observers may argue that Africa, like the rest of the world, has been witnessing a hike in prices of all basic commodities. But the disturbing fact is that even food items that could be produced in abundance in Africa are short in supply because the Continent has never given itself the tools to be self-sufficient.      
Remaining in such a vulnerable state has given room for nations that are in conflict today not only to express shock that African leaders have opted for neutrality, but even think of subtle threats to cow everyone in Africa to find logic in going to war or taking sides. Luckily, African leaders have been holding their grounds by resisting any attempt to oblige them to take sides. The irony in trying to woo Africa to line up behind warring factions lies in the fact that for decades, the desire by African leaders to have a strong say in most international bodies like the UN Security Council, the G20 and others have often met with lip-service from their peers in the West and Asia. Most talk about equal partnership in development has hardly been concrete. This is evident in the trade imbalance that African countries have often had with their partners.     
The recent unrest in the Sahel region has been thought-provoking to many. It causes can clearly be traced to unwarranted foreign interferences in African affairs. No one can presently say for certain how such tussle will end. The general sense of expectancy seems to command that...



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