By Madi Jobarteh
More than 5 years ago I wrote an article entitled, ‘Africa: The Most Important and Strategic Continent in the World’ because of what I saw happening in the world around Africa. I saw utter foolishness, stupidity and lack of seriousness in our leaders as they bundle themselves every year to go to some place around the world as one foreign leader after another would invite them to a summit.
Here is an excerpt of the article,
“A few basic facts about Africa indicate that this continent is the world’s most important and strategic place on earth that only Africans are either not aware of or disregard it or both! Let’s look at the facts:
Between 2010 and 2014, there are at least 7 ‘Africa summits’ organized by foreign governments to which all African leaders were invited to discuss about peace and security, development cooperation and partnerships with and about Africa. These are:
- 25th Africa – France Summit held in Paris in June 2010
- 5th Forum on China and Africa Cooperation held in Beijing in July
- 2nd Africa – Turkey Summit held in Istanbul in June 2013
- 5th Tokyo International Conference for African Development held in
Japan in June 2013
- 3rd Arab – Africa Summit held in Kuwait in November 2013
- 4th Africa – EU Summit held in Brussels in April 2014
- 1st US – Africa Summit held in Washington DC in August 2014
Africans are yet to ask why is everyone calling us to answer to them in their home to talk about Africa? Why are the meetings not held in Africa if indeed they are about the development of Africa?
Africa’s population is now estimated to be 1.033 billion with more than half of the population at less than 25 years. This makes the continent the youngest in the world. Africa is also the most centrally located place on earth, not to mention the fact that Africa is the world’s richest continent in terms of mineral resources. It has the most arable land and waterpower in the world. In fact, Africa is the best habitable place on earth given the limited occurrence of natural disasters as is prevalent in other parts of the world.”
This is Africa. Yet it is the poorest place on earth! Why? We know that EU, US and China each make nothing less than 200 billion dollars in a so-called trade with Africa. Illicit financial flows out of Africa go beyond 50 billion dollars annually. What these figures signify is that Africa is a treasure trove! We are filthy rich. We are sitting on mountains of wealth. Yet the people of Africa are poor. Wretched. Why?
From a sociopolitical point of view so long as a person is poor, powerless and voiceless that person is at a greater risk of facing discrimination and violence from others who are better off. Therefore, Africans need to think very deep and hard as to why we are economically backward even though we have all of the economic resources to be wealthy.
This answer needs no lab testing because it is glaring in front of our eyes. So long as Africa continues to have leaders and technocrats who lack vision, self esteem and love for their people they will continue to sell Africa for a mess of pottage.
Do you know that Royal Dutch Shell first began oil exploitation in Nigeria in 1958 and decades later it became richer than even the Government of Nigeria? In 2011, the United Nations environment agency, UNEP reported that Shell had contaminated more than 1,000 sq. km area of Ogoniland. UNEP said to clean up the area will take 30 years and costing $1B. Yet Ogoniland and the wider Niger Delta wallow in poverty!
Well before the UNEP report, Shell has been so comfortable in Nigeria thanks to the various governments there. Not only does Shell fund the Nigerian military to shoot down protesters in the Niger Delta but in 1995 former despot Sani Abacha went further to kill renown author Ken Saro Wiwa and nine Ogoni leaders just to protect Shell.
What is the difference between the Nigerian scenario with Shell and the Gambia Government with Golden Lead, a Chinese company that is also polluting our land and waters and depleting our fish in broad daylight? This same scenario is what you will find in each and every African country where foreign companies are brought in and protected by our leaders and technocrats to loot our natural resources, damage our environment and leave our people in excruciating poverty! They claim foreign investment is the path to development! What nonsense and lies!
Kofi Annan summed it best,
“For much of the region’s history, Africa’s resource wealth has been plundered and squandered. It has served the interests of the few, not the many. Revenues that could have been used to improve lives have instead been used to build personal fortunes, finance civil wars, and support corrupt and unaccountable political elites.”
When you understand this then you will understand why these numerous and meaningless summits are taking place and why Africans are discriminated everywhere in the word and not just in China. If you truly understand this, then you ask yourself what is your worth as an African on this earth! Think!
I don’t belong to this Decadent Africa.