Africaâ€™s Development: Myths and Missed Opportunities
It was a great pleasure, honour and exciting time for me to attend in Pan African Movement â€“Rwanda Chapter National Congress on August 8 at Kigali-Rwanda. The Pan African Movement â€“Rwanda Chapter brought interesting memories, envy and great optimism about Africa destiny and sovereignty.
Pan African Movement â€“Rwanda Chapter made us understand rightly the socio-economic and political development realities of Africa. In fact, Rwandaâ€™s rate of economic growth and poverty eradications achieved over the past years make all Africans proud.
However, Africaâ€™s development journey was (still is) characterised by many myths and missed opportunities since colonial times. Heavily pessimistic discourse about Africa and her prospects to overcome development challenges featured (still is) prominently and pronouncements coming from the west painted a negative picture and nightmare about Africa.
The western perspective analysis of the African region was (still is) characterised by a degradation of the very essence of human dignity. It is distressing to paint a picture of Africa as continent in crisis and her situation expected to get worse and with a set of bleak statistics.
Pan African Movement â€“Rwanda Chapter congress provided array of hope on Africaâ€™s development and destiny by conveying the urgency of Africaâ€™s crisis to its leaders and Africans themselves.
In particular, the congress highlighted Africaâ€™s marginalisation within the international division of labour, difficult conditions in world markets and the need to confront the hegemonic approaches and replace them with more afro-centric inclusive conceptualisations. Specifically, Africa needs to fundamentally involve different ideas about appropriate units of analysis, the important processes and the kind of context within which actions and processes take place. Africa should not accept development concepts and models without critical analysis.
For instance Rwandaâ€™s home grown achievements have been due to tapping into the richness of her cultural values as opposed to grafted myths of development models. Therefore, Pan Africanists challenge is to rediscover the multidimensional nature of African existence and empower Africans to realise their full potential to determine its destiny by developing an ideology of development that will help Africa as it undertakes its multifaceted and multilayered process of transformation if they are to liberate Africa from outdated and unrealistic notions of development.
The Western-centric models of development have been ineffective in description, analysis, evaluation and in general understanding of the major problems confronting Africans and thus demand Africanists reformulation.
The western development paternalistic attitude towards Africa is indicative of old wine in new bottles. True, Africa is still not doing correctly in redefining her futuristic interests, branding her foreign policy strategy, making correct choices and ensuring domestic growth. Africa is still suffering from her failure to learn a lesson from west attitude towards her as Africa pursues her foreign policy interests differently and correctly.
It is against the above myths that the west superiority complex is still dominating interests and opportunities in Africa. Africa has not done enough honestly and sincerely in the diagnostic analysis, prioritisation and valued exchange of thoughts in regard to her common problems. The contemporary foreign policy challenge is not easy but with evolving ideas, change of legacy, rare policies with ideological clarity and diplomatic balancing, Africa can do better.
Africa must take stock of her foreign challenges including analysis of threats to her integrity, dignity, security and potentials in order not to fall prey to highly deceptive foreign policy strategy and hegemonic control tactics. Africa responses to her threats need to be satisfactory, consistent and understood. Africa needs to re-organise and re-define herself so as to have the strength to speak and walk towards a dignified, prosperous and united Africa
Geoffrey MUSHAIJA is PhD Economics Scholar (Land Policy)