Africa: Struggle, Obama and Victory

Africa: Struggle, Obama and Victory

This week more than 40 heads of African States are attended a summit which is led by the US President, Barack Obama.

In November 2008 when Barack Obama was elected as the first African president of the United State of America; Africa and perhaps even the world came to a standstill. A village in Kenya erupted in fireworks, Tanzanian newspapers had him on their cover pages, Indonesia reminded everyone of its relationship with him and the South African Archbishop, Desmond Tutu compared him to Nelson Mandela. 

Too many, Martin Luther King Jnr dream had been fulfilled.

With years of his Presidency which is typically of any president of the U.S: Invasion, support of traditional allies such as Israel, assassinations and all that has come to reflect the U.S many have realised that nothing much changed.

The African continent went to the US summit with its old challenges. Africa is to witness yet another drought in Somalia, the unemployment rates amongst the youth are shockingly high, child mortality is threatening the future and poverty levels are threatening stability. 

Africa is also facing new demons. She is faced with Ebola which has killed more than 800 people, the growth in terrorist attacks has led her to increase her military spending and potentially neglect social issues, she faces instability in Central Africa and she is dealing with the carnage of U.S involvement in Libyan affairs.

Indeed Africa has made strides. Huge strides. The continent is predicted to have the largest economic growth of any continent, civil wars have become a thing of the past, most countries have increased their infrastructure growth and trade between Africa and the world has increased by 200% since 2000. According to Standard Bank 60 million African households have annual income greater than $3 000 at market exchange rates. 

Africa went to the summit with positives and negative but above all she went to the summit with the full realisation that her growth or prosperity will not come from the U.S or Europe.

China, with a relationship that exceeded $200 billion last year seems like a better choice to many African leaders. The Chinese comes with historical ties, it mostly does not meddle in internal affairs and its global status makes it a great ally. 

China and the U.S are the same. Africa needs reawaken the giant within her.

It is indeed true that one of the urgent things Africa needs to do is to increase her manufacturing capacity, promote her innovation, punch above her weight and above that she need to find herself. She needs to chatter her own growth and not be fattened up by superpowers crumbs. 

The new Africa must in no doubt trade with other countries like China and the U.S but she must do so in an equal field. We need an Africa which will not exist in isolation but at the same time will not serve to enrich everyone and anything except herself. The new Africa must do research on the moon and skies but above all her researchers must focus on challenges that affect her such as malaria, Ebola and TB amongst others. The new Africa must be for Africa.

Frantz Fanon put it well when he said:” If we wish to live up to our peoples' expectations, we must seek the response elsewhere than in Europe.”

The economic system in the U.S doesn’t allow for developing countries to grow, taking an economic leap, No. The US economy is structured in a way that she is to grow at the expense of other countries. Her system is entrenched to flourish on the expense of developing countries.

Africa growth which should primarily be measured on the well being of her people will come from Africa. The tea parties in Shanghai and photo opportunity in Washington are just adventures in failure.