Africa is experiencing a dramatic political change that has the propensity to alter its long–standing image as a corruption breeding ground and a political and economically challenged region that the rest of the world has to contend with.
There has been a sudden awakening – that with the abundance of wealth and resources the continent possesses, the fortunes of its people can be turned around and prosperity will surface and poverty will finally become history.
To tackle the continent’s difficulties, good leadership and attitudinal change would have to be vital pre-requisites. Africa has in the past suffered the consequences of deliberate economic squander by those it had trusted with the mantle of leadership.
The people have been deprived of a quality of life when there is abundance of wealth to provide a comfortable livelihood for all. It is how their system of government has managed their resources that has inflicted unquestionable poverty that has left so many poor, hopeless, destitute, sick and hungry.
The mismanagement of Africa’s resources has brought about untold misery for its people. The hunger for power and to have ultimate control of the wealth of the continent has brought about wars that have left millions dead. Greed has created conflict where once there was amity, as brother’s fight against each other for political dominance. The persistence of civil strife has destroyed the continent’s already fragile infrastructures. War-lords who engage in battle with each other in their quest for control of lucrative mining areas sometimes forget that their battleground is not the scene of a video-game thriller as the people became the victims of a horrible campaign of brutality with limbs hacked-off and children raped.
Competing for Africa’s abundant resources has seen a race to influence the continents foreign policies. The untapped mineral wealth the continent has to offer has bred unlikely alliances with some of the world’s most rogue regimes. China has emerged as a serious contender for the continents mineral deposits. The Chinese have pumped millions of dollars into the continent in an attempt to exert their influence in a region that has not even fully grasped the Chinese approach to making friends. It seems the west are playing catch-up with china as they themselves are beginning to support African countries by waiving-off some of Africa’s enormous debts. France, UK and the US are keen not to lose grip of their former colonies and are forging new relationships and offering more bilateral assistance just to reduce the impact of China’s influence.
The African continent has recently witnessed a new dawn, as a new breed of dynamic leaders emerge to take the continent forward and provide a new direction for their people. Sierra Leone, Ghana, Liberia, Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania, Botswana, and a few other countries have given birth to new democracies that will ultimately define the future of their countries and shape the destiny of their people.
Sierra Leone is a vivid example of change, where the new President Ernest Bai Koroma, is implementing a new agenda for change that has already seen a positive approach to tackling poverty by frustrating corruption in government and business administration, and by introducing legislation to ease the process of investing in the country and providing foreign investors with more security and assurance of financial returns in whatever industry they invest in.
Recently, the government of President Koroma launched a new $300 million bio fuels project developed by Addax, which combines a 16 500 hectare sugar plantation with an independent power generation facility. The president is also keen on harnessing the enormous hydro-electric potential in the country’s rivers and waterways. The recently completed Bumbuna hydro-plant is the government’s first step towards this clean energy future.
Leaders like the Sierra Leone president have given hope to the many African’s who have until now lost faith in their governments, and there is a new drive to ensure the momentum of change is not lost as those in the Diaspora are gearing up to get involved in the development process in their countries. Many of the continent’s educated elite’s are being called to serve their countries in different capacities as the move from a continent dependent on aid towards one that is self-sustainable is on.
Pic: President Paul Kagama of Rwanda