Integration the only way Africa will overcome development hindrances

The US-African summit  that took place this week in Washington DC is one of the most publicised events that happened on the calendar year 2014.
Achille Manirakiza
Achille Manirakiza

The US-African summit  that took place this week in Washington DC is one of the most publicised events that happened on the calendar year 2014.

The current US government wants to see an Africa rising on its potentials, starting from leadership homegrown ideas, and developing them to see a global and an all-inclusive progress of Africa, at least according to the organisers. 

The summit resulted in new private sector deals worth over $14 billion, while President Obama pledged $7 billion towards doing business reforms in Africa.

This, itself, is a good development, as Africa is not necessarily exchanging its so coveted riches to get infrastructure donations or food aid as we have seen over the years. It builds Africa’s confidence, to see itself as a global partner in the world’s economic advancement, rather than a basket case.

The development we desire will however be delivered only after we consolidate what we have through economic integration, because the practice is the gross mismatch in the wave of development.

Some countries are doing tremendously well, in terms of technology, public health and infrastructure development. This does not necessarily mean these are the countries that have a great “underground” potential in terms of precious stones and other natural resources.

The continent has spent at least half a century of ridicule, not only from the outside, but also from the inside.

The self-victimisation that follows takes the whole issue to another level, and this has been the song for more than five decades.

The key to development lies in globalisation and integration, or in other terms, an outward look on how things are done elsewhere.

I would not be wrong to say that most African nations are afraid of change. No, not the fact that we have many tribes and kingdoms ruling and influencing the Republics, but in general, that is the society that we have grown up in, and culture is mistakenly taken within that conservatism frame.

It always has been what the west had to do or give to Africa, to the extent of coming over and rule over our unsettled old disputes. And we felt comfortable that way.

And, let me break the taboo and let’s be true to ourselves, our own differences are the ones making us lag behind in the world’s progress.

Another important, but always forgotten factor is that, in a nation’s development is its altruist attitude to the global progress.

Created in 2007, the Good Country Index is an international database which assesses each country’s contribution to the world’s development and to the common good of humanity.

It covers technology, health, security, environment and education matters. It focuses on how much a country has given and taken of each item to other countries.

It does not, at the end of the day need lots of industrial machines puffing noxious air in the ozone; not too many fast growing cities-yet too many dusty villages. It just needs pro activity in what the world is up to and at the same time, contributing to the same world, homegrown solutions to problems that are shared globally.

Africa can still contribute to the common good of the world and leave behind its historic burden.

This calls for mutual respect and partnership between countries, different from the parent-to-child kind of relationship that has always characterised African’s relationship with the west.

If only the continent could emerge as a bloc.

The writer is a medical practitioner and a pan-African enthusiast

Twitter: @akillesm