A while back we looked at why Africa rising remain an unsolved jigsaw puzzle whereby the region is rich, but most of her people grapple with deep-rooted poverty and diseases.
One year ago, while speaking in TEDx Talk in London, Ali Mufuruki, a Tanzanian millionaire, and businessman, said: “Africa is not rising.” Although Mr Mufuruki admits that there have been great strides towards development in the recent years, the growth rate is far too slow and the percentage, too meager.
“If China could rise at 18 percent at the peak of its rising, why would a 6 to 7 percent growth in Africa be called impressive?” a malcontent Mufuruki wondered. “Unless of course, we have accepted a special standard for Africa, a mediocre standard,” he added.
Mufuruki continues to highlight some of the major challenges that are holding Africa back such as electricity, trade, aid, technology, management of economy among others.
With all these challenges in the backdrop, the thought of a self-reliant Africa seems to be far-fetched, strange and even refreshing. But is it?
An economic expert, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala says it is not a fallacy, it can be attained. Okonjo-Iweala, who has held the position of Finance Minister twice in Nigeria, speaks from a point of much knowledge and experience. According to her, African nations, in the days not so far off, will be able to stabilize their governments, economies and natural resources, which will guarantee long, peaceful continuums that are essential to productive human endeavor, happiness and progress. She was speaking at the just concluded TEDSummit 2016, Canada.
One of the examples that Okonjo-Iweala gave about an Africa that is “ready to take responsibility for itself and look for solutions for its own problems,” is the African Risk Capacity, a specialized agency of the African Union. ARC is designed to assist member states in resisting and recovering from the ravages of natural disasters through a groundbreaking index-based weather insurance mechanism.
To attain the sustainability, she notes that the journey will not be easy. Although Africa has done many things right such as managing economies and environments better, keeping debt levels lower, immunizing and education of children better, deploying technology wider, and decreasing conflicts, there is room for improvement. In her list of things to be worked on include: creating jobs for young people, creating high-quality jobs, decreasing income inequality, reducing the number of people dwelling in poverty, investing in infrastructure, opening up Africa for regional trade, and battling corruption for good.
This is a narrative also furthered by the African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina, who urges people not to “believe the narrative of doom and gloom on Africa.” Earlier in the year, Adesina said the projection given on Africa’s growth by the IMF (International Monetary Fund) and the OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) to grow at 4.4 percent in 2016 and strengthen further to 5 percent in 2017, is good news.
“African economies are not unraveling – they are resilient! Africa is still the best place to invest.”
The same sentiments are carried on by the optimistic Okonjo-Iweala whose desire for Africa to achieve its goals is not waivered by the current challenges. She believes self-reliance for the continent is possible if governments put some little more efforts in fighting the evils in the region.
“In our countries, nobody is going to fight corruption for us but us,” she noted. “The rise of Africa narrative is not a fluke, it’s a trend. If we can unleash the power of our youth, our women — the trend is clear, Africa will continue to rise.”
Image credit: Reuters/Thomas Mukoya