Competition: A benefit of regional integration

In 1858, English naturalist, Charles Darwin co-published a paper on a theory known as Natural selection. In this publication Darwin explained that nature will always choose the most adaptive individual. It didn’t matter whether you were the most beautiful one, for as long as you didn’t adapt, you didn’t live.

In 1858, English naturalist, Charles Darwin co-published a paper on a theory known as Natural selection. In this publication Darwin explained that nature will always choose the most adaptive individual. It didn’t matter whether you were the most beautiful one, for as long as you didn’t adapt, you didn’t live.

This law can apply in many areas in our day to day life and not just as individuals but as communities. For seven years, we’ve enjoyed benefits that come with regional integration where areas like trade, investment and tariffs have thrived. 

Not to mention the free movement of labor from one member state to the other. Jobs have been created, revenues increased, trade boosted honestly what’s not to like? However, do the youth know the perks of this integration later on taken advantage of them?

Despite the different cultures, education systems, economic statuses, this merge has opened each and every single member state up to immeasurable opportunities especially with the free movement of labor. The idea here is that for as long as you’re a citizen in any of the member states you will be able to get employment or conduct business in any of the countries within the region. 

To a certain extent that has been implemented since you can now get in to Kenya and Uganda with just an identity card. In case you haven’t noticed, this is a really big deal, wider market space for products, larger pool of job opportunities and lots exposure. 

But then again what’s to say that youth understand what this means. There are opportunities that often go unnoticed and in this case a simple example is competition.  Please allow me to explain.

You know how many Kenyans and Ugandans come off as competitive at almost everything? From the classroom to the playground, they seem to run them all? Well, I would know, considering I share a similar experience.

In an effort to find out why this is so, I learnt that in these countries competitiveness starts as early as nursery school, kids basically have to compete for everything and it’s not that there is always a shortage, sometimes it’s because the standards are so high you can’t help but be a little competitive. 

The trend continues from school to the work places and can stay around till some are old and grey. It is due to the steep competition that many of the Kenyans and Ugandans come off as aggressive as opposed to the rest of their counterparts. 

Whatever the case, the positive effects of this competition are tremendous and have resulted into an innovative, effective generation characterized by high performance among many other things.

This is no way saying that Rwandan youth don’t measure up to these standards because we have made great progress, it’s just that our colleagues are way ahead in the race and our best chance we have at winning is adapting. 

Human beings by nature are bound to adapt in relation to environment in which they are because according to Darwin, failure to do so will lead to being selected against. Regional integration allows us the rare opportunity to be exposed to the different people within the region and there in learn from them. 

This in turn enables us to maximize our abilities and resources. The misleading notion that Rwandans are a naturally reserved people and as such can’t partake in healthy competition is a nothing else but exactly that- misleading. We can no longer sit back and blame our backgrounds and education systems for our incompetence especially now that we have a sneak peek on who we are up against.

Nature just like any other evolving community works on a ‘survival of the fittest’ model. We need to keep up and by that I mean as we should be able to create products that can compete even on a global scale, acquire skills that give us advantage over the rest.

The author is a student at University of Rwanda, College of Science and Technology

 

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