Africa – between optimism and despair

Africa was believed to become the new superpower. With all its potentials and with an upcoming generation of new leaders,  the “Africa rising” movement developed both inside and outside the continent.

Now Africa is not even able to feed its own people. It seems to have been another false start. It has been estimated that 60% of the world`s uncultivated arable land is in Africa, just waiting for leaders to exploit it instead of begging for food to avoid hunger. Some leaders also use “climate  change” as an excuse for lack action.

Millions of people are at risk of starvation in countries like Nigeria, Somalia and South Sudan. These countries are all at war. The famine is never just a  natural disaster. It is always a product of politics.

National leaders should be drivers of development for all rather than being preoccupied with distributing privileges among themselves. When a poor country shops for weapons, begs for food and ignore poverty in their own country, the term “failed state” is relevant. Reports from South Sudan say that the Government try to stop humanitarian aid because it could be used to feed the enemy, is an indication that South Sudan is no 1 failed state in Africa today.

Countries like Rwanda, Ethiopia and Uganda are not the best models of “good governance”, but their autocratic leaders have been effective in stabilizing their countries, as well rebuilding fragmented societies.

Democracy is hard  to sustain in the absence of economic growth for the poor. People start looking for a firm hand who acts more than he/she talks. Many of the most impoverished have come to see democracy as a system that keeps them poor and the corrupt people in power.

Maybe there are better systems of representative governance in Africa than the competitive western style multi-party elections, without going the autocratic way?

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One Response to Africa – between optimism and despair

  1. Thank you for not giving up an interesting topic, and am thinking about it a lot, and what is needed for things to improve and take some steps forward in African countries. But what I know is that its all about history, its the past which has led to the present, and actions in the present will yield in future, either good or bad, usually both, depending on the angle we see it from.
    I often ask myself, where will the good future leaders come from? Probably from a very slow process where more and more people on the ground learn their human rights and push on their leaders to improve on things. This is a process which is ongoing, and here in Zambia where I work I see a lot of change in the rural communities where we work. Not many years ago most people would not even know that their children have the right for education, now most people now. And more and more people also learn that even disabled children also have the right for education and a “normal” life. And I believe this good process will continue, in spite of up and downs for a country, political wise. And even if a hard working, honest politician should manage to come up high in the system, he or she may not last long because the system below her is not yet ready for it, and the judicial systems and other governance systems may not yet be independent and mature enough, as it need to grow naturally from the bottom.
    In our work a large population learn their rights through sports for development, and through village meetings which challenge people and let them participate and work for change, motivated by visible results of their work in their neighborhood, where individuals are getting better lives, Thereby becoming a motivation for the whole community.. Some time in future the country as a whole will change because of this, systems will be created where the leaders will have to do things much better in order to survive in leadership.. So I believe it s just our horizons which is too short, we have forgotten how long time it took for the developed word to get good democratic systems which are working. I therefore believe good things are coming our way! And what we need to do meanwhile is continue working for the good patiently.

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