Africa is not poor. Africa is a rich continent inhabited by poor people. Once we fix the people problem, everything else will fall into place.
In this post, I share what I consider to be the top 10 problems affecting the people ability to fix themselves and subsequently take control of their destiny.
1. The Poverty Porn
Humanitarian organization like UNICEF, Doctors without Borders, and alike have done more damage to Africa than the marginal positive impact they supposedly have had.
In order to raise money for their operations, they have engaged into a “poverty porn” depicting Africa with the most degrading, and humiliating images. African people dignity is not something they cared about. The huge billboard and magazines photos showing Africa at its worst now fill the mind of billions of people around the world, and unfortunately those people can’t help but think about Africa only trough those images. (In the same time, those medias won’t show the photo of a dead American or English soldier, because it’s shocking and doesn’t respect human dignity)
The worst consequence of this “free publicity” is the way it has deeply impacted Africans self-perception and self-image.
For example, It’s common in France for African immigrants who are having problems with their teenagers to threat them “If you’ll continue to behave that way, you’ll be sent back to Africa”, meaning “We will send you to the hell you have seen on TV or in the Newspaper”.
The “Poverty porn” of the NGOs, the humanitarian organizations, and Western medias is the problem number one because it sabotages Africans self-image, weakens their sell-confidence and resolve, and contributed hugely to the hate and racism Africans face all over the world.
2. International Aid
If foreign aid would develop any place, Africa will be the most developed continent in the world.
International AID is now doing more harm to Africa than good. It became the main tool used by foreign governments and organizations to corrupt the African elite, and get them to behave so irrationally toward their own populations and the basic interest of their countries.
Aside corruption and the criminality, International Aid is the root of the 5 Stars colonizationdisease that cripple the African elite which dislike the responsibility and the self sacrifice that comes with being in control of a nation destiny. As far as they enjoyed the status offered by their positions, they never liked the responsibilities demanded by the jobs, therefore they use international aid programs as substitute to their responsibilities.
If Africa needs any aid, the most urgent one is to get rid of the 40 billions corruption industry (called International Aid) that shackles its youth and elite, cultivates and maintains the beggar mentality.
How would you develop any country when the dream of the majority of its youth and elite is not entrepreneurship, innovation, education and self-sufficiency, but the dream to have a job with a humanitarian organization or to get their project financed by some International aid Agency or proxy.
3. International Medias
A friend of mine recently told me that the “Global Lying System” (referring to the western medias covering African news) is one of the biggest threat to peace and development in Africa.African tribes are created in London, Brussels and Paris by journalists.
The colonial heritage of those journalists (unless they are instructed to do so) makes them to see Africa only as a collection of tribes and focus their coverage on what they call as tribal issues. They create new realities like “People from the North” compared to “people from the South” or “people from the West”. They invent new divisions with creative imagination, like the Belgians falsely created the “Tutsi” and “Hutu” tribes in Rwanda which ultimately lead to the genocide in 1994.
The western medias seems to follow an agenda of further dividing African nations and populations with their constant framing of Africa through fight between tribes, religions, geography, etc. This must stop before African could unite to fight their way out.
The influence of western medias in Africa is very negative, and could be considered as part of Africa problems.
The second most negative effect of the western medias in Africa is that they tend to focus their attention on what the Europeans or the White people are doing in Africa or for Africa, and how they are saving Africa, therefore continuing to create the false impression that Africa is a hopeless place with lazy people that could be saved only by the white man.
What you often see is a white man helping African or an outsider making change in Africa. That’s bad, and perpetuate the feeling that Africans are incapable to solve their problem by themselves, and reinforce in the mind of the young people and generation “the white man as a savior” mentality. Very Bad!
4. The Colonial Borders
The current African countries borders are nonsenses. A study done in the years 70s showed that African nations had less trade between themselves than before colonization (How Europe Underdeveloped Africa). The situation has not change much since then.
There is no immediate solution, but initiative like the African passport or Visa would greatly improve the movement of people and increase the potential of intellectual and commercial exchanges.
5. Ignorance of the Books of Machiavelli, Hegel & Darwinism
The western elite that currently rules the world has 3 majors intellectuals influences: Machiavelli (How to rule over people with cynicism and deception), Hegel (using the Hegelian dialectic of history they consider the western civilization as the end of history) and Darwin (the Survival belongs to the fittest, therefore the white race should stay at the top and rule over other races).
Anyone who wants to understand the intellectual principles that are shaping our current world, should deeply understand the above 3 authors and their influence on the western elite.
The ignorance by the African elite of the principles by which the western Elite think and act is a major cause of their permanent naivete and incompetency.
6. The Rich Subaltern Mentality
There are two kinds of people in Africa, those who can’t make a living regardless of how much they put in, and those with lavish lifestyle and privileges regardless of how little they contribute.
The first group is made of those who has not contact with “white” people, and the second is made of people who has contact with “white” people.
If you live in Africa or know some African people, make a list of 10 people you know or have heard about who have a “good life” and social privileges. You’ll quickly find out that 90% those who have a good life are people who work for the “white” or with the “white”. They serve foreign-owned or controlled companies, organizations or foreign NGOs in Africa. They have big houses, nice cars, home servants, and enjoy high social status and privileges.
I call those the “Rich subalterns” or the “Selected subalterns”. (“White” in Africa is used for “European”, “Chinese”, “Lebanese”, “American”, etc. In the context of this article it could be easily replaced by “foreigners”.)
What is the problem?
The problem is that you can’t develop a country or continent where the majority of people who have the potential to become leaders are raised to be “good subalterns” to be successful.
Young people aspire to emulate the most successful models in their society, and now the only visible and tangible model available is the rich subaltern model.
There will be no problem with the rich subaltern model if this group of population was not made mainly with “non-productive” people working in middle management position. Middle managers in office don’t create companies, they don’t create value, they don’t create jobs, they don’t invent, innovate or act in leadership position with the power to change things.
7. Lack of Domestic Leadership Education
Africa is not poor, Africa has a leadership problem. For any society to prosper it should have a endogenous system of identifying, training and coaching its future leaders. Some countries do it through their military services, some do it through elite schools, and some others do it through informal coaching and assistance organizations or secret societies.
The main issue about Africa leadership is not the quality of its individuals, but the quality of the group of individuals. Individually there are lot of brilliant people, but collectively they fail to work together harmoniously on long term vision, and commit with integrity and loyalty to their country or long term vision.
The reason behind this failure is that most the so called leaders are trained outside their country and context, by people who has no knowledge of the context in which their leadership skills would apply. Additionally, the heterogeneity of the systems in which they have trained make it difficult to make them work well together.
Domestic leadership education systems and programs that raises in the same place and contextfor a long period of time a whole generation of new leaders is the way to go.
8. Lack of Science & Engineering Education
A study done few years ago at the Stanford University (I’m struggling to find my source) demonstrated how colonial powers tend to drastically reduce the study of science and engineering in the countries they have occupied. They would favor literature and subaltern studies that would make the graduates just
good enough to assist them in running the colonies or the occupied countries.
Results, Africa has a lot of “talkers”, people with oratory prowess. Now, We don’t need more of those lawyers, sociologists, philosophers, but more scientists and engineers.
9. Lack of International Intelligence network
Africa knowledge of the world is very limited. I’d agree that most of my fellow Africans have very little idea of the world they are living in, specially the forces and trends that are shaping it.
This lack of intelligence is bad, because it leaves the continent unaware of events and shifts that could affect it.
10. The Crab Mentality
If you put several crabs into a bucket, and if one of them begins to crawl out, one or more of the other crabs will put it back down and prevent its escape. It’s called Crab Mentality.
This is a good metaphor for us as Africans to Unite and create strong networks that support each other, while avoiding the Judas goats.
About Mawuna Remarque KOUTONIN
Mawuna Koutonin is a world peace activist who relentlessly works to empower people to express their full potential and pursue their dreams, regardless of their background. He is the Editior of SiliconAfrica.com, Founder of Goodbuzz.net, and Social activist for Africa Renaissance. Koutonin’s ultimate dream is to open a world-class human potential development school in Africa in 2017. If you are interested in learning more about this venture or Koutonin’s other projects, you can reach him directly by emailing at firstname.lastname@example.org.