What direction must Africa take?
The editor of this paper, Daniel Steinmann, delivered two perspectives of Africa. One is that of the rest of the world and the other, one Africans would like to entertain. Quite interesting the matter and contradictory the perspectives, I dare say. And on which one do we want to build our future, I dare ask.
An economist, accountant and any businessperson will look at those numbers – “the entire continent, home to almost a billion people, contributes only about 2% to world GDP. So roughly, 17% of the world’s population only manage to add a meagre 2% to its combined economic output every year” – first. Those numbers tell us a lot. What do they say about Africa? Well, the writer of that editorial mentioned some of them and they are not something to go brag about. Africa and we Africans have a very, very long way to go to be accepted as equal by those who regularly top up the ‘drip’ that feeds us.
Success is primarily a matter of adapting to the given environment. If one cannot adapt, he will not make it. However, what will happen if that environment is suddenly shaky, vanishing? What way do you have to take to adapt to that? This is probably now something of a problem. For those who run a kapana-business it may not be a problem, but those steering national or even regional economies may well find themselves in the middle of nowhere. The trusted system ‘Capitalism’, newly taken over by Africa, is not trustworthy any longer; its champions went broke or almost broke and those hoping to put their and their nation’s future on it see one huge danger looming.
Africa wants to join the world; quite naturally, it seeks success. What perception is the right one to chose? What is the way to take? The old African way is no longer possible; the question who is a friend that can be trusted to give honest advice, becomes urgent. Who can be trusted in a crumbling ideological environment that uses dishonesty and cheating, as one of its basic tools? Will Africa be able to understand the situation, able to think a step or two further than the need of today?
The future is not clear – the future is opaque. ‘Friends’ in and outside Africa cheated Africa all the time. The riches of Africa are loosing their value during a time when the world feels unwell and money is running out. But Africa cannot afford to rest, it has to go and work, to buy and sell at a very fast pace if it hopes to conquer hunger and everything else mentioned in the headline-list of the Namibia Economist’s editorial. It cannot afford to choose the wrong way or naively believe in a ‘friendly’ perception; one billion Africans have to be fed, educated, need healthcare and education; they need hope and a perspective. Yes, it is not easy to be an African leader, not during these times and in a fast changing world.