In the latest World Bank ranking, only four African countries are among the top 50 in terms of GDP at purchasing power parity.
Africa has been ensnared by three obstacles that explain this phenomenon, as Jean René Ndouma, a Cameroonian consultant in financial markets and digital finance, explains.
The first obstacle is political. In some African countries, behind-the-scenes deals with Western powers sometimes take precedence over fundamental laws and constitutions. These agreements prevent the free utilization of natural resources and undermine sovereignty, asserted the economist.
"There are agreements with certain colonial or ex-colonial states that prevent the various African countries from disposing of their natural resources, from making decisions concerning their sovereignty... Obviously, you can't envisage economic development," he stressed.
As a direct consequence of these arrangements, some African leaders are not free to maneuver. They must respond to the injunctions of Western powers, whose interests they serve, to the detriment of the interests of their people.
"The second reason, related to the first, is that there are still African countries with heads of state who only have a head of state in name. In reality, they do not have the power that the African people give them, to act for the interests of these peoples. They are at the service of certain Western powers, they await the instructions, the injunctions, the orders of Western leaders", said Jean René Ndouma.
Stuck Under CFA Franc's Yoke Furthermore, the development of certain African countries is impacted by the CFA franc, a currency, which is completely beyond the control of local governments, since it is printed in France and pegged to the euro.
This makes it impossible to implement independent budgetary policies, according to Jean René Ndouma.
"The third reason is the currency [...] I'm referring in particular to the 15 Franc zone countries using a currency that is truly a casino chip, because it's not their currency. It is manufactured, controlled and influenced from somewhere else. It doesn't allow you to define a real development, monetary and budgetary policy," he noted.
The alternatives offered by the BRICS, via the New Development Bank (NDB) for example, could allow Africa to overcome these three obstacles, added the economist.
"We truly salute the BRICS which has taken the leadership of a new global center with all the instruments needed to be able to develop a country”, a task requiring “investments”, “infrastructure” and “technology transfer,” he declared.
Beyond the economic sphere, the security factor also remains crucial for African development, concluded the economist, noting that "if there is no security and peace, there can be no talk of development".