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Friday, 20 March 2009

African Independence is Cosmetic

I feel much cheated and disturbed to see that African countries are still being led by transactional leaders who are only interested in their personal gains and have done very little if not nothing to make their countries self reliant.


Events happening in Africa are still being determined from foreign capitals.  Indeed, in my previous article that was published in The African Executive magazine Issue 191 titled: TRANSFORMATIVE LEADERSHIP DEFICIENCY: AFRICA’S MAJOR OBSTACLE, I argued that what has always failed Africa is lack of visionary and transformative leaders. 


African countries are heavily dependent on foreign aid which is some form of neo-colonialism. Half of African countries’ budgets are funded by former colonial masters. Major programmes in Africa like dams and road construction, health, educational, agricultural, research among others, are funded by the so called “development partners.”



As you travel in African countries, you will come across such signs as “the construction of this road is being funded by the government of France.” You will also come across many vehicles written on “this vehicle was donated to the government of Uganda by the federal republic of Germany.” You will also come across boreholes written on “this bore hole was constructed with support from the government of Ireland, France, Norway.”


All these examples explain that African countries are still heavily dependent on the developed countries for their survival. You cannot find a vehicle in France, London with the words “this vehicle was donated to the government of France, Germany…………’’ by the government of Ghana, Kenya…’


The worsening social, economic and political conditions in Zimbabwe, is largely attributed to Britain and other developed countries’ refusal to give aid to the leadership of President Mugabe. Much as Morgan accepted to work with Mugabe, if Mugabe remains adamant and continues with his dictatorial leadership style, which does not serve the interests of the whites, the developed countries are likely not to give aid to his government.


It is a pity that African countries/leaders cannot independently resolve issues without the input of the developed countries. Most conferences held in Africa to solve the continent’s problems are normally funded by the developed countries. As a result, developed countries dictate the resolutions to adopt as “beggars have no choice.”


Financial aid and grants from the developed countries come with strings attached like adoption of a certain political system and buying the technology from the donor country among others. The financial aid is given at high interest rates hence keeping African countries in chronic poverty. With the global financial crisis hitting the world hard, it is expected that developed countries are definitely going to reduce their financial aid to African countries and since many African countries operate on foreign funded  budgets, most  programmes in Africa will stagnate. Africa may consequently not be able to achieve the millennium development goals by 2015.


African leaders are ever making endless trips to the developed countries to convince their leaders to open up their markets for the goods from Africa. They are doing this with very little success as goods produced in Africa are considered to be of low quality. Some goods in Africa are of good quality but because developed countries are protective of their home industries, they normally set high standards to be met by the African goods before they are allowed in their countries and in many instances, African goods have failed to meet this set standards.


African countries also have less influence in the world trade organization. Most of the trade terms and conditions at WTO are made by the developed countries. These conditions have always turned out to be unfair to the traders in Africa, for instance, the issue of farm subsidies in USA is very detrimental to farmers in Africa. Besides, African currencies are interpreted in terms of foreign currencies like the US dollar, British pound and Euro.


African countries still depend on foreign expatriates in the area of scientific development and information technology. This to me implies that there is something missing in our African education systems and since education is very crucial in any country’s transformation process, the education curriculums in Africa need an overhaul to meet the challenges of the 21st century.


On the side of the industrial development, African countries are still badly off. There is no industrialization to talk about and as thus, African leaders ever making foreign trips to the developed countries pleading with their investors to come and invest in Africa. As a result, most of the major industries and other investments in Africa are foreign owned. These companies do influence policies in countries where they are and this implies that almost all the development policies in Africa are foreign influenced.


Development of Africa is purely a responsibility of Africans themselves. African leaders need to put in place strategies that will lead to stability and development of African countries and less dependence on developed countries.


Hategeka Moses

Ugandan based  good governance activist

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