African countries need to actively promote innovation

I couldn’t agree more! Indeed, prior to talking about and on what has been invented and belong to elsewhere, let’s first scrutinise the kind of foundation we have as our own, on which to truly ‘develop’.
Delegates at the 10th Extraordinary African Union Summit, held in Kigali, during which 44 countries signed the African Continental Free Trade Area deal on Wednesday. Courtesy
Delegates at the 10th Extraordinary African Union Summit, held in Kigali, during which 44 countries signed the African Continental Free Trade Area deal on Wednesday. Courtesy

Editor,

Re: CFTA: Cutting edge technology does not happen in a vacuum (The New Times, March 22, 2018).

I couldn’t agree more! Indeed, prior to talking about and on what has been invented and belong to elsewhere, let’s first scrutinise the kind of foundation we have as our own, on which to truly ‘develop’.

We should not believe that the West will just give us its technology freely so we can grow our economies! The myth of Western globalisation...

In Africa right now we have abundant monetary capital and a huge human capital, those “smart minds” and lots of tinkerers, however not recognised as such. What is missing is what they took from us since the last 3-4 centuries, and still locked away from us – the wisdom to always start at the foundation, our foundation. We have thus far been made to believe that we, Africans, ought to build on other peoples’ foundation...Our ‘development’ will always come from outside! Until our mindset is changed and our productive industries follow accordingly, in our now celebrated Continental Free Trade Area perspective, we’ll keep just spinning those foreign products and services, simply imported and copied!

And yet our so many and otherwise perfectly able ‘tinkering nerds’ are indeed ready and ‘willing to dig their hands in the mud’, our local mud. But unfortunately, they are not allowed to. They must instead adorn the Scottish, Irish, Texan tie and blazer, platted skirt and green sweater, black shoes and socks not ‘Made-in’Rwanda’! There is no room for them to play invent/build a true African foundation – and original one at that –, really saleable African products and services.

As far as I am concerned, I am still dreaming of an African/Rwandan school where my children and grandchildren will play at building strong their own foundation; a school not continuously teaching them to endlessly live in a vacuum, on a borrowed life; a school instead where they will relentlessly invent/build their own Africa, not a just copy from the West!

Francois-X. Nziyonsenga

 

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